I came across this picture online recently and it caught my interest. It was taken during the 1967 Boston Marathon. Katherine Switzer, the first woman to register and run in the marathon, made world headlines after a race official tried to physically remove her from the race because she was a woman. In this picture, her coach (on her right) is trying to keep the official away from her to ensure she could continue running.
As I pondered this scene, it reminded me of the different ways that caregivers sometimes perform their jobs and interact with the individuals they serve. Too often staff play the role of the official, focusing on enforcing the rules or what they think is right. They often stand on the sidelines and wait for something to go wrong and then intervene. Other caregivers act as the coach. They are right there running with the person teaching, supporting, encouraging, and when necessary holding accountable the people they serve. When others try to hold people back from accomplishing their goals and dreams, the coach is there to advocate for them to be given the opportunity to reach the highest level of achievement possible.
In The Mandt System, we teach that the job of caregivers is to co-manage with the people they serve. To, like coaches, build relationships and engage with people at a level that encourages them to cooperate in the learning of skills that will improve their quality of life and help them achieve their own goals.
Doug ZehrVogt- Mandt System Faculty