September 16, 2013 · 12:02 pm
The optimist is on the right hand side of the picture, with her arm round the pessimist.
Be pessimistic while you’re young, but optimistic when you get older. Do you agree?
I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the message from Diana Athill in her entertaining autobiographical installment Somewhere Towards The End.
To boil it down further: Be thankful, be appreciative, be optimistic. (Don’t worry too much about being pessimistic at all.)
It’s not just Diana Athill’s credo – she was inspired by newspaper interview with 100+-year old Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer.
According to Alice, people are born either pessimistic or optimistic.
According to Diana, pessimism or “a painful sensitivity to evil” may be useful in providing a spur to struggle against wrong, but optimism enables one to endure.
Do you agree with either of them? I think I do. Though I also think one can change or learn new behaviour – so the born pessimist may mellow Continue reading →
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October 5, 2012 · 12:01 am
“Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans” – apparently. So it’s best not to hang around too long making them.
Seize the dime and all that.
Like Emeka Egbuono. Here he is getting east London inner city youth together with police officers in a role reversal exercise – to build mutual understanding and trust. He started as a participant and now he helps run them – as described in this excerpt from Emeka’s blog.
I remember being part of the pilot session… I was 15 at the time and to be honest all we wanted to do was to have our weekly table tennis competition.
The police turned up in two vans. There were at least 9 of them for that first session.Everyone seemed uneasy with their presence, looked more like a raid to be honest. They came with their plain clothes. The session was not how I imagined, Janette project manger for The crib had to stimulate the discussion because she could sense that none of us wanted to talk to the police. Eventually after a few games that broke the ice, we started discussing issues that affect us, this was our chance to get our voice heard and if anything would happen after this was yet to be seen. We spoke about police tactics, stop and search, profiling, stereotypes, legal rights, and the justice system. It was very interesting talking about all these things and seeing thing from a different perspective. It was all done in a respectful manner as everyone had equal say.
This was then followed by role reversal role playing between us and the police. An example of a scenario we had to do was that a group of young people were hanging around on the stairwell in block on the estate, a concerned resident calls the police to come and move them along because of the noise and what looks like fighting. So now we have the scenario, we now had to act as the police who turned up to deal with the situation, and the police were acting as the young people who were only play fighting with each other and having a laugh.
A Trading Places session – youth and police – pic from Emeka Egbuonu.
As the police officers we started off with the nice approach, but the police officers acting as young people did not go easy on us, they made it extremely difficult to resolve the situation. I think they have vast experience dealing with scurrilous youth because they were doing a good job. Eventually we had to use force and make them move along.
The second day was really interesting because the police now had to come in with their full uniform and the dynamics of the session changed. There was a sense of animosity between us and the police, even though it was with the same officers from the day before Continue reading →
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