Passion like fire is a good servant but a bad master

A couple of colleagues came back excitedly after a meeting with a community leader who had expressed her frustration at how things could be better done for the children in her neighbourhood. Our colleagues informed that this community leader was of the opinion that Beyond will probably do the job of looking after the kids well and asked us to present a proposal to her fellow committee members.   Hence, our colleagues wanted to be helpful but after talking and thinking it through, they now realise that if we presented this proposal we would have simply rub salt in the wounds of a group of community leaders  who are already feeling rather discouraged with their efforts. Instead of strengthening our partnership with them and our presence in the community, we could have been making enemies of these leaders and our presence unwelcome. These days, it is common to see social work as services to plug the gaps in communities or in people’s lives. As service providers, we identify what is wrong and lacking and quickly go about implementing our services rationalising that we are healing the world. In our enthusiasm we believe that this must be the way to go without ever stopping to think whether this is what people really want or whether we are hurting rather than healing people. Passion like fire is a good servant but a bad master and the first thing about being a good servant is to recognise this.


We will now be going back to this community leader to explain that we share her concern for the children but are of the view that they may not have done as badly as they feel. We will listen to them attentively again and this time we are quite sure we will be able to identify the positive things they did and to explore how together, we can find solutions. We may connect her to resources but most importantly, we will share and learn together rather than to instruct and advise.


Enjoy your weekend.



“If you ask appreciative questions, the self confidence of the community will grow.” John Rwomushana, Uganda

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