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The Tales that BThe Tales that Bindind

The Tales that BThe Tales that Bindind: A Narrative Model for Living and Helping in Rural Communities

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    The Tales that BThe Tales that Bindind
    Book Description:

    The Tales that Bindpresents a narrative approach to facing the challenges of working as a practitioner in social work, education, medicine, or the church in small towns, remote hamlets, and other rural settings.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2191-6
    Subjects: Education, Religion, Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Part I The Context

    • 1 The Story of the Project
      (pp. 5-17)

      Just as many projects do, this one unfolded in the course of countless conversations. Among these were the conversations we had each been having inside of our own minds, long before the project began: conversations about “rural” and “helping” and “story” (see “The Researchers’ Stories“). But there are other conversations we wish to outline here, and all of them connect. Among the earliest are those between Rosemary and Bill.

      Arriving in the same year (1995) as new faculty at St Thomas University, our offices were just across the hall from one another, despite being based in different departments: social work...

    • 2 The New Brunswick Story
      (pp. 18-35)

      This book is based on a study of rural helping that we conducted during a particular period in a particular province: New Brunswick, one of the three Maritime Provinces on Canada’s Atlantic coast. Besides being a mainly rural province, it is also where those whom we interviewed live and work, as do we ourselves. It’s our home. To most Maritimers, a sense of “home” and “place” borders on the sacred – asacred storyas Crites (1971) would say, and “Where are you from?” is rarely an idle question. For Bill, New Brunswick is where he was born, and for Rosemary...

    • 3 The Researchers’ Stories
      (pp. 36-62)

      Important to effective rural helping is knowing the stories of the communities we serve. Yet equally important is knowing our own stories, too. Besides informing how wepractiserural helping, they influence how weresearchit as well. Much research in the social sciences is autobiographical at base, insofar as the questions we choose to study are not merely interesting for us from an academic standpoint but, all too often, important to us as persons – because of our own unique life stories.

      Any story that we tell about ourselves, however, is a particular version that is recounted to a particular...

  5. Part II The Stories

    • 4 Tales from the Front: An Introduction
      (pp. 65-67)

      Our purpose in this book is to honour the themes our participants identified in the interviews we did with them. But the intertwining nature of these themes calls for a special mode of presentation, not one that sets forth our “findings” in terms of discrete topics that are discussed one at a time in linear manner (though we do a bit of that under “Recurring Themes” in Part III). Instead, given the range of fields our participants represent, communities they serve, issues they face, and stages they are at in their respective careers, what is needed is a mode of...

    • 5 Rural Policing as Real Policing: An Officer’s Tale
      (pp. 68-79)

      To be honest, I knew very little about rural communities before being posted to this detachment. I grew up in a well-heeled suburb of Toronto. Apart from vacations at the cottage my parents rented every summer, “rural,” to me, meant “dull and boring.” It’s also what our suburbusedto be, before the local farmers sold off their land for so-called development – a smart decision on their part, I thought at the time. Why put up with a smelly barnyard, with all those animals you’ve got to take care of and crops you’ve got to tend when, instead, you can...

    • 6 Born and Bred: A Teacher’s Tale
      (pp. 80-87)

      This is a turning point in my career. Tomorrow, I’ll need to give my decision to the powers that be. To be offered the position of vice-principal of Hillsdale Regional School – as a 30-year-oldwoman– is nothing to sneeze at. It may be the smallest school in the district, with fewer than 300 students from Grades 6 through 12 and only 15 teachers, but the next step, they tell me, could be principal and (who knows?) regional superintendent. What’s more, District Office is practically begging me to take the position: the very sort of opportunity I’ve always thought I wanted....

    • 7 Places, Programs, and People: A Nurse’s Tale
      (pp. 88-98)

      David and I live in St Andrews-by-the-Sea, a once popular historic tourist site on the Fundy Bay in southwestern New Brunswick. In the past century or more it has declined in prominence, but it will, as before, thrive again. Both David and I work in health care in the region. David is a paramedic with the provincial ambulance service and I work as an extramural nurse for the southwestern region. We met about 10 years ago when I practised at the Fredericton Hospital Emergency Department. David, an accountant, volunteered with his family’s ambulance and firefighter service in McCortney. He had...

    • 8 Developing the Community: An Activist’s Tale
      (pp. 99-106)

      People call me a “workaholic.” It’s true that I rarely stop my helping activities, although I don’t really like that term “helping.” It sounds so patronizing. I work alongside of other people to try to make the area where we live better for everyone. I suppose that if I was pushed into a corner and had to put a label on what I do, I’d call myself a community developer or a social activist. Before I get into describing what I do, I’d better tell you a bit about myself and the area where I live.

      My name is Julia...

    • 9 The Passing of Reverend Bob: A Minister’s Tale
      (pp. 107-115)

      These are my last few days in Sussex. I havesomany emotions running through me. Packing things last evening, for instance, I was struck by the plaque presented to me by the Youth Group at the “roast” my parishioners threw me two weeks ago:Reverend Bob, you rock! All the best from all of us!This got me thinking about the great party that the Lions Club threw as well. (Thank God, I was never “Reverend Bob” to them, simply “Lion Bob.”) Lions Club, Youth Group – two of my most enjoyable involvements these past four years!

      In the morning,...

    • 10 Becoming a Helper: A Social Work Student’s Tale
      (pp. 116-121)

      Yesterday I had a midterm evaluation with Henry, my workplace supervisor. I’ve certainly learned a lot since I began my internship in the First Nations community, but it’s clear that there’s a lot more still to learn.

      I’m a student in the Social Work program at St Thomas University (STU). It’s my second degree. For my first degree, I majored in sociology and Native studies. I thought that sociology would be a good preparation for working with people; it’s certainly helped me with my social work studies. I’ve been interested in learning about Aboriginal people since I was in high...

    • 11 Working in Another Language: A Doctor’s Tale
      (pp. 122-133)

      Rural medicine and rural life are like working in another language; it’s a huge classroom and every day you learn about how things work. You observe at the same time that you participate. And I love it! I really do. It gives me satisfaction; something wondrous comes back to me. But while something comes back to me, it has to come from within. I have to feel like I’m doing a good job here and I’m able to look at the good parts of it and learn from the bad parts. You have to do the best that you can...

    • 12 Taking Care of Business: A Social Work Director’s Tale
      (pp. 134-141)

      I’m not sure I’m a good person to be talking to about rural helping because, for the last four months, I’ve been out on stress leave. I must be getting better, though, because I don’t think I’d have been strong enough to talk with you a couple of months ago. I prefer not to talk much about my stress leave, just to say that it’s the first time I have needed to take such a thing. Stresses of work and stresses in my private life combined about five years ago. I tried to struggle on but I realized that it...

    • 13 Fish out of Water: A Volunteer’s Tale
      (pp. 142-150)

      If you had asked me an hour ago why I’m at this conference on Human Services in Rural Communities, I don’t know what I would have said. Surrounded by all these “helping professionals,” as they call themselves, plus various experts and professors, I was feeling like “a fish out of water,” as you English would put it. I only agreed to come at all because the person who invited me (and arranged to pay my way) is my lifelong friend, Giselle. “Giselle,” I said, “how can I say No toyou?”

      Giselle was hired two years ago by the Department...

  6. Part III The Lessons

    • 14 A Narrative Curriculum for Rural Helping
      (pp. 153-155)

      Our goal in this part of the book is to outline the implications of our research into rural helping for curriculum that is aimed at preparing people to work effectively in small communities. Such curriculum is most relevant, we believe, when it is based on an in-depth understanding of rural life itself, one accessed best through the narratives of those who live and work within those communities. By contrast, traditional models of education tend to view “curriculum” as a blueprint for teaching and learning that is one-dimensional in nature and laid out in terms of “outcomes” and “objectives.” Based on...

    • 15 Recurring Themes
      (pp. 156-171)

      A number of our participants told us that, all too frequently, they felt like outsiders in the communities they served, like strangers in a strange land. They told us of the challenge of being trusted and accepted by rural people, many of whom have lived in those communities all their lives. When our work requires gaining such people’s trust in comparatively short order, so we can respond appropriately and swiftly to the issues they face, meeting this challenge is vital. What is more, while in some professions our work is structured around “cases” or “clients” or prepackaged programs and requires...

    • 16 The Need to Know the Story
      (pp. 172-183)

      “Nothing happens without conversation,” one of our participants insisted. She was explaining how, for rural people, the most valuable times are often those spent around the kitchen table exchanging stories about everyday problems and employing common sense to generate solutions. After interviewing over 40 participants in total, not to mention conducting workshops, hosting focus groups, reviewing related research, and presenting academic papers on the topic of rural helping, this comment seemed to us to sum things up.

      Since conversation is nothing if not the sharing of stories, then human life in general and rural life in particular, it implies, is...

    • 17 Strategies and Exercises
      (pp. 184-191)

      From the various workshops and courses he has given as a gerontologist, Bill has developed an assortment of exercises to assist people in exploring the complexity of their own life narratives. This one, which he callsTrolling for Memories, can be adapted to help people identify specific experiences and relationships that have influenced their decision to enter a helping profession.

      First, they are asked to focus on a period in the past that’s been influential in their wanting to help others as their life’s vocation. It could be as far back as their childhood or as recent as last month;...

    • 18 Questions for Consideration
      (pp. 192-197)

      In preparing students to bring a narrative perspective to their work as rural helpers, it is crucial that we know these students as persons, as well as the background from which they have come. It is critical that we ask certain questions concerning them – or, as the case may be, that they ask them of themselves. Carrying on, then, from the various strategies and exercises outlined above, we have included several such questions below. We can hardly stress too much, however, that the process of helping people to become helpers of others should really begin at home; it should begin...

    • 19 Curriculum and Conversation
      (pp. 198-200)

      Throughout this book, we have stressed the importance ofconversationin effective rural helping. This is the case on several levels, we believe, beginning with that of daily life in rural communities, as people gather in local coffee shops or around the kitchen table to talk about their lives. Conversation is also central tohelpingitself, as one person offers herself to another to understand the challenges to be faced. And it has been essential to our research, too, which has revolved around our chats with the 40-plus helpers – paid and unpaid, professional and volunteer – whom we interviewed about their...

  7. Appendix: An Annotated Bibliography
    (pp. 201-214)
  8. References
    (pp. 215-222)
  9. Index
    (pp. 223-227)