Gentle Teaching has inspired me to become a better person

The way I maintain a culture of gentleness at COR is simply being friends with the individuals I serve. When I am supporting, I look at myself as a guest in a friend’s house. I am not there to ‘take charge’ and tell them how they need to be living their lives. Again, I am a friend and a friend will never judge a friend’s decisions. If anything, I would suggest better choices for them just like any other friend would. For example, if one of the individuals I serve wanted to spend their entire pay check on a $200 used game system, I may suggest other options for the reason of helping them manage their money or I may ask nicely how important the game system is to them. From there, they could hopefully tell me that the game system is not important enough that they spend their entire pay check on or they may choose a cheaper option. If not, they buy the game system and we move on. At the end of the day, it is their choice and if that choice makes them happy, that is all that matters.


Gentle Teaching has inspired me to become a better person. I find myself using the Gentle Teaching philosophy in all aspects of my life, which has allowed others to feel more respected and warm when they are around me. My Mother first noticed this in me about two months after I began working for COR. She told me that I had came a long way with my personality and the way I show myself to others. Growing up, I was not the child with the best personality or the child with the most respect toward others. As I get older, I am improving in these things every day. It was nice to hear that from someone who sees me almost every day. I know that I am nowhere near perfect, but some progress is better than none. In the end, anyone can better themselves and no one is ever too old to improve.


Jason, COR Support

1 reply
  1. yeiter
    yeiter says:

    Lovely post ; I would suggest that our core paid role in people’s lives is not to be a friend, but to work to help the people have opportunities to make friends. This issue is often the subject of much emotional and defensive debate…Relationship is of course the hallmark consideration within the paradigm of gentle teaching…no argument there. And if we truly become friends with the people we support, that is awesome. However, my experience of 46 years shows me daily that people with disabilities quite often ONLY have paid friends, and when the employment relationship ends, so does the friendship. More importantly there needs to be a solid recognition of the very hard work of supporting people with disabilities thru valued social roles, to have frequent opportunities to develop friendships outside of the service system bubble of sorts. What I see over and over again is that first, the direct support staff do not see this as their central role, and assuming they do, they often need support and encouragement to do the hard work of facilitating such opportunities, a set of skills that is often not taught in our field.

    As for gentle teaching, my experience over and over again has been when people with disabilities are supported to have a relationship outside of the service bubble, that the behavior issue often fades away…a job, a friend, belonging, membership, meaningful ways to have contributions valued…in short, the Good Life! Of course, life is not always a bowl of cherries for any of us…

    The part of your message that so resonates with me is that all in all, what this work we do is really all about, is to become Gooder people…Wolfensberger would purposely use the word “gooder” to draw attention to the moral dimension of becoming human…which is also the title of one of Jean Vanier’s books…it is one of the gifts that people with disabilities bestow on us.



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