It’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness is like a guiding principle for much of my work and life. At times I do rant and rave about what is wrong with the world, but most of the time I try to do something that makes a difference.
In strengths-based practice we focus on strengths and potential rather than problems and deficits. As Kral (1989) suggests:
If we ask people to look for deficits, they will usually find them, and their view of situations will be coloured by this. If we ask people to look for successes, they will usually find them, and their view of situations will be coloured by this (Kral, 1989).
The idea of lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness builds on this approach. Rather than simply complaining about what’s wrong, we can decide to do something to create change. Creating change is often easier when we build on what is already working well or existing strengths.
The reason I joined Transition Newcastle is that, rather than focussing on what is wrong with how we currently do things, we focus on creating the world we want to live in. We aim to create a positive alternative that people will want to join.
In the Alternatives to Violence Project we explore how we can balance respect for self with caring for others, and we encourage people to think before reacting and to expect the best. Rather than simply reacting to provocation, hurt or disrespect, we can do something to stand up for ourselves without escalating the situation.
At times it is easier to complain, and I all too often fall into this trap but, most of the time, I hope I light a candle and help make a difference.
If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:
- Why I blog
- Blogging as an academic
- How (and why) I joined the Transition movement
- Why I’ve gone rainbow-coloured
- 7 principles guiding my work
- Social change and strengths-based approaches
This post was prompted by the WordPress Daily Prompt: Candle
Kral, R. (1989). Strategies that work: Techniques for solutions in the schools. Milwaukee, WI: Brieg Family Therapy Center.