That is great Theresa! Thanks!
The Value of Past Experiences in Preparing for the Mission Field
Looking at your four possibilities, I have a couple comments or observations. Option one certainly has some history for me. I struggled when people were screened out simply because “X” had happened, or they admitted to some period of “Y.” It might be one thing if they had never dealt with it, but I found that people who had some difficulty in the past more often than not had made some incredible growth adjustments after that, which inoculated them to further difficulties. By that I mean, they were often better prepared for what could come and were able to apply their previous experience fruitfully. In fact, over on Crosswired.com, most of my autonomous learning units are built on the concept of using previous experiences, both good and bad, to help strategize for the future (Hmmm, do you think that is a shameless advertisement?). While I understand that sometimes people are not prepared for a stressful placement because of issues they have, I hate to see them rejected automatically.
Two Other Options: Ignorance vs. Formation
Approach two is one that most missions have historically used, which probably came from the old saying, “Ignorance is bliss.” Except it isn’t. Ignored or uninvestigated life experiences have an amazing ability to return in force when engaged in crosscultural ministry. However, if previous experiences are part of ADA issues, we can’t address them in the same way we did in the past.
So, what could we do? This is where I think we need to consider option four. We need to understand people’s history from a formational perspective and challenge them to engage in specific spiritual formation activities. Also, this is where their interpersonal and emotional skills relate to the work environment. Higher emotional intelligence levels relate to better relationships at work and the ability to see others’ feelings (empathy). This is what I am doing with my class on screening (oh, another plug…).
How To Handle the Clinical Option?
The really difficult option for me is number three, though it may be necessary at times. We are back to the old issues of where and how to apply counseling or clinical assessments. We are going to be addressing the whole issue of Fitness for Duty in our November Seminar (November 15-16, 2017! Look for it on the Telios website – yeah, that was really obvious!). But this is not really FFD at this point, since it is still pre-employment. How do we begin to approach option three? Don’t give me the whole answer on the next thread(!). I still have some more stuff to talk about!
Featured Image: ”Unnamed” by Marivi Pazos on Unsplash.
Disclaimer: not official legal or psychological advice or opinion
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