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03/22/10 12:55 - 37ºF - ID#51247

Values in the workplace

I run a day program that teaches social skills and a work ethic. When my staff and I address social skills and work ethics, we occasionally bump heads. And the root cause is generally a difference in values that inform how we believe one should act. And I have to negotiate those differences, while thinking about how my values are informing my decision making process, and come up with a compromise or a decision that may be disliked by everyone involved. But that's the unfun part of being a supervisor, being the one to make decisions when others can't jointly come to a solution.

Otherwise, my values are something that I live out with out a lot of talk, unless staff/co-workers specifically ask me about it. And even then, I often answer cautiously and carefully. I know I live differently than other people in my work place and I don't mind explaining why. But when I give my answers I want to gently say what I think is right without trying to start any serious discussion, but I work with pretty opinionated people, so it can get pretty interesting pretty fast.

I get a lot of questions from people about foster care. Questions about kids and talking about kids seems to be a fairly popular topic and on the surface seemed harmless. I expected a lot of unsolicited advice, and I was prepared for biting my my tongue and moving on. I didn't expect simple statements to quickly become a source of judgment. And refuting those judgments could so easily become a fight over childraising values that I'm just not interested at having at work.

But so far I have been criticized for:
Not taking the kids to McDonalds or Chuck E Cheese
Fixing home cooked meals (sometimes vegetarian) instead of serving chicken nuggets and hot dogs
Putting a 3yo and 6yo to bed by 8pm
Allowing and encouraging foster son to play with a kitchen set Thinking it's great that the 3yo foster daughter loves to play in the back yard for long chunks of time - digging in the dirt, playing with a wheelbarrow, banging things around

Sometimes I battle over the topic, sometimes I let it go. But I couldn't let the comment about the kitchen set go. The kid loves food. The kid loves watching me make food. Seems pretty natural that he would also love playing with a kitchen set. And I wouldn't let the comment go about playing in the backyard. If she likes playing in the backyard, then she likes playing in the backyard. She also loves going for a walk and loves animals. I have a feeling she's going to be a nature lover when she grows up...not exactly something I'm planning on discouraging.

I guess I find it interesting, because if it was politics or religion, people would tread more carefully, but it seems like a free for all when it comes to children. Yet how you raise children, is a very deep reflection of your values in the same ways that politics and religion is.

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03/10/10 07:29 - 36ºF - ID#51145


Almost exactly 4 weeks ago, we went from being care free DINCs to being foster parents of two. A 6yr old boy and a 3yr old girl.

Our days are full of relentless "why?"s, silly statements, smiles and tears, laughs and whines, the bureaucracy of foster care and school paperwork, toys scattered in the house, long conversations about kids and short lived attempts at non children related moments.

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Location: Buffalo , NY



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