I spend a lot of time in the great outdoors with my kids. Nature is a powerful teacher, and can provide wonderful opportunities for developing relationships. I’m often surprised at how often concepts from the relational chapters of the Mandt System seem to come up in these outdoor adventures.

We frequently go for long walks at a nature preserve that is not far from my home. Before we embark upon the journey, I show both my daughters the route that we will take on the map posted at the entrance to the preserve. While we are walking, I will occasionally stop and quiz them to test their situational awareness. I’ll ask them to point to north, where the lake is from where we are located, which direction the car is, what weather is likely to occur, etc. They are learning to be aware of their environment, to be and feel safer in the woods, and how to not become lost. Most of the time, they can guide us back to the car from anywhere in the preserve. I’m helping my kids to recognize where they are, assess themselves and their environment, decide what to do, act on it, and review the results of their actions. Sounds familiar, right? My kids are learning to develop their RADAR. RADAR is a concept we introduce in the Relational chapters of the Mandt system training and reference through the whole program as a pivotal model.

In the woods, knowledge of self, others, and the environment are vital. My kids have learned to program their RADAR with specific information for a specific environment. The skills they develop will certainly carry over to other environments, but they will need to program their RADAR with specific information for those environments. This is similar to the process of training our RADAR to fit different human service environments. We program our RADAR with historical knowledge gained through planning and data tracking. We can then integrate that knowledge into our interactions with the people that we serve, as we strive to create healthy relationships within safer workplace environments.

John Windsor – Mandt System Faculty