I am fascinated by charts and codes that print out easily grasped outlines of generalities. As compelled to these charts as I might be, I also see the shape of what they are not saying. In art class, we learned to make notans. We learned that what is not there is just as important as what is there, in forms of images.
Signposts are helpful to avoid cliffs and to remind you which direction you're headed but honestly instead of these types of musings or academic debates about the history of social work policy all I can think about is my homeless clients at work and how what I am reading can impact them, does it impact them and in what way.
All I can think about is the lack of services for people who are the most vulnerable. My pattern of thinking isn't just English (or American as Dunlap would have specified, due to my origins). Like everyone, my pattern is not that simple. We do not fit into spreadsheets no matter how hard we might wish we did.
I am stuck on the absence of what is present. Both what is there and what is not there are equally important, as we learned from the notan. There is much to be learned and grown in the vacant spots where there is no shape yet built.
I want to hand out answers to the questions life asks me and yet all I have are more questions on which I perseverate. Such as this one. How can I work with the homeless and not be acutely aware (read: tormented) of what I (we) cannot (do not) offer them?
You don't have to be homeless to have this thinking pattern of lack, either. Any of us can manifest feelings of unworthiness, self-defeat and why bother. We must persevere, even when we're too tired.
So, like all the other thinking patterns described in Dunlaps's pretty charts, I think we need to take this with a grain of salt. Though the notan shows us two sides, it isn't this or that so much as this and that.
Also, if you did not already click on the "too tired" link above, I encourage you to do so. It is a poem called The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer and it's beautiful.