Marriage or Matrimony, Religion or Civil


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I assume that people who are shouting down the NO side are frustrated and annoyed at the fact that their fellow citizens would cast a vote that effectively continues the marginalisation of our Brothers, Sisters. Aunts, Uncles, Mother and Fathers. What is being lost in this debate is the difference between civil marriage and holy matrimony. At no stage will the church have to perform holy matrimony for any same sex couple and that is their right. Therefore that piece of the argument is null and void. Civil marriage requires a constitutional change to give it absolute protection, if there were merely a change in law then that change could be reversed just as easily. The third point is the link between the family and how that fits with same sex couples, there is no simple answer here and this is where there is a great divide. The NO side who are predominantly faith based although not exclusively believe that the FAMILY is Father, Mother and Children, in effect that is a norm from which we are used to. Legally this interpretation is incorrect as in the constitution a cohabiting heterosexual couple with no children can be defined as a family, Article 41.3: “The State pledges to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.” nowhere though is Marriage defined, we could accept that it was clearly understood as opposite-sex when drafted in 1937 but original intent is not decisive.The failings of this current piece of constitution also marginalises other family forms, such as….a cohabiting heterosexual couple looking after the children of either or both parents,a cohabiting heterosexual couple either of whom is already married ,a cohabiting heterosexual couple either of whom is already married, whose children (all or some of them) are being looked after elsewhere ,unmarried or lone parents and their children and homosexual and lesbian couples. So back to the referendum the proposed amendment to Article 41 is the insertion of the line: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”, again this is a civil legal amendment and imposes no change on religious matrimony. All other facts of the debate in relation to children, surrogacy etc etc etc are just being used to confuse the issue.Surrogacy and other methods of assisted reproduction are being dealt with in other pieces of legislation and if battles need to be fought there then that is where people should direct their fight. I for one will vote YES to this referendum and look forward to attending the CIVIL marriage of some of my friends in the future gay or straight. Adrian McKenna is a frontline Social Care Professional; he has worked and Managed for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services, homeless services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Committee Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, A Member of Social Justice Ireland and was on the National Committee of the YES Campaign for Children. All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.

The Late Late Show and the fat shaming Katie Hopkins


Katie Hopkins is not right in what she says about Fat people, and this is why, you cannot place obesity into one simple linear argument, you cannot say people who are fat are fat because they eat too much and sit for too long. This is a complete over simplification of a very complex issue. We don’t yet understand the connection between emotion and eating, we don’t fully understand the need for bodily control, we don’t fully consider that overeating may just be preserving a fragile mental state. We find it difficult not to judge others, why???, what pushes us to judge. Why do we constantly use our head but forget our heart. Some obese people will never lose their weight if they constantly feel judged, some obese people may need a kick in the arse to get them going. What is important to remember is that we need to give them time to let us know when and if they need support, obesity and the whole fat shaming issue may have more to do with mental health than we are willing to recognise. The Late Late show would have been far better off having an honest debate about how culturally it is becoming unacceptable to look different than what the media want us to accept as normal.I am a morbidly obese man, I am loved and I love, I am successful personally and professionally, I have been told that I have been the instigator of change in other peoples lives. I am led by my heart and use my head, I am not less because I’m obese. I would never judge another human being and their frailties but I would go out of my way to try and bring some positivity into their life. Shame on Katie Hopkins for not having the sense and wisdom to use her media status to a more positive heart based effect.

Leading to Serve, Serving to Lead Part 2


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Today was week two of the servant leadership training in the organisation I work with, Crosscare. Today was principally about looking at self awareness, part one of this was the group reflecting on whether we recognised/ knew our developed abilities and preferences and whether we recognised/knew our less developed abilities and struggles. First we reflected on how we go through the process of hiring people, we looked at what was important to us when we chose a candidate to come and work with us. We recognised that we were drawn to people who were multi-skilled with different strengths. What we were reflecting on was, were we the sort of organisation who then told that person that they then had to subscribe to our way and forget all they brought to the table, bonkers, of course its bonkers. There is little point in having a multi-skilled team if you are not going to encourage them to play to their strengths.

We looked at the Johari Window, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdozzYQgD_g. This is used to help us look at how open we can be to our self and others; it is a tool that can be used for personal growth and one that we have used in a supervision setting with our social care workers. This is achieved by giving and receiving feedback which allows us to achieve our growth potential. By allowing self disclosure and embracing self discovery we can change how others respond to us. Vulnerability allows other people feel connected to us.

Our emotional side is an Elephant and the rational side is the rider, the rider holds the reins and appears to be in control, to be the leader. But anytime the elephant disagrees the rider will lose. To make any progress you need the drive and energy of an elephant, if you want change to happen you have to have both, the rider for direction and the elephant for energy.

So in this case the three elements of change can be described as such:

Direct the rider: what looks like resistance may only be a lack of clarity.

Motivate the Elephant: what looks like laziness may be exhaustion, the rider can’t get his way by force for very long, what you need to do is engage peoples emotional side, get the elephant back on the path.

Shape the Path: what may look like a people problem may just be a situational problem, when you shape the path you make change more likely no matters what’s happening with the rider and the elephant.

We are slowly but surely opening up the world of Servant Leadership, have a look at Brene Brown explore the nature of vulnerability: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEPbkvhPuRk

More in two weeks time.

Leading to Serve, Serving to Lead


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Today was the first day of a Servant Leadership Course that we are doing in Crosscare, this was introduced to us a few weeks ago by our Director and Senior Managers and I for one have been excited and worried ever since.
This morning 12 of the management team met up at 9am in Holy Cross College, Conor Hickey our Director and Aidan Browne our trainer were going to take us through day 1 of the course.
Servant Leadership, what is it ?????
Management is doing things right, Leadership is doing the right things.
Efficiency is doing things right, Effectiveness is doing the right things.
There are seven practices to create cultures that are ethical, practical and meaningful.
Self Awareness
Developing your colleagues
Listening
Coaching not controlling
Unleashing the energy and intelligence of others
Changing the pyramid
Foresight
Today we spent some time looking at an overview of the course, we shared some of our hopes, looked at some of our skills and discussed our experience of positive and negative leadership. We have only scratched the surface but we are on our way. We watched a piece on youtube from a TedTalk by Simon Sinek called “Start with why”, this is a very interesting piece you should if you have the time watch the youtube piece and then go on to look at Robert Greenleaf who is recognised as the founding Father of Servant Leadership. That’s all for now, more in two weeks time after the next session.

Leading to Serve, Serving to Lead


Today was the first day of a Servant Leadership Course that we are doing in Crosscare, this was introduced to us a few weeks ago by our Director and Senior Managers and I for one have been excited and worried ever since.
This morning 12 of the management team met up at 9am in Holy Cross College, Conor Hickey our Director and Aidan Browne our trainer were going to take us through day 1 of the course.
Servant Leadership, what is it ?????
Management is doing things right, Leadership is doing the right things.
Efficiency is doing things right, Effectiveness is doing the right things.
There are seven practices to create cultures that are ethical, practical and meaningful.
Self Awareness
Developing your colleagues
Listening
Coaching not controlling
Unleashing the energy and intelligence of others
Changing the pyramid
Foresight
Today we spent some time looking at an overview of the course, we shared some of our hopes, looked at some of our skills and discussed our experience of positive and negative leadership. We have only scratched the surface but we are on our way. We watched a piece on youtube from a TedTalk by Simon Sinek called “Start with why”, this is a very interesting piece you should if you have the time watch the youtube piece and then go on to look Robert Greenleaf who is recognised as the founding Father of Servant Leadership. That’s all for now, more in two weeks time after the next session.

The Tuam Babies, Adoption, Society and Pain.


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The recent press interest in the Tuam babies’ story is interesting; it is interesting from the point of analysing the blame game. On the one hand there are those who believe that the Church and/or its actors are responsible for all the hurt and pain that was inflicted on those who they were supposed to care for. Others are inclined to look to the Government to accept responsibility for what happened at that time, and others take a view that it was of its time, that society as a whole lived that experience, that in fact there was no complicity rather that it was a lived experience for all those that were alive at that time.

In essence as human beings it is much easier for us to understand if we can indeed apportion blame, for in apportioning blame we then somehow manage to distance ourselves from the pain. It becomes someone else’s doing, not something we were involved in.

I believe that as in all historical sociological practices that they are of a time, I was watching a historical drama based on the lives of the Vikings recently, they were barbaric men, they listened and sought advice from their wise men, and they subscribed to fearsome gods and practiced sacrificing humans as a way of appeasing those gods. That was of its time.

In 1965 when I was born things were very very different than they are now, there were very few shopping centres, cars, foreign holidays and no mobile phones. Education, hospital care, disability and mental health services were almost entirely facilitated by the religious orders. Women predominantly worked in the home and when married they could no longer teach. The Catholic belief system was predominant and church attendance was the practice of most people.

Much has changed in the intervening 50 years, not all of it for the better. There is little religious involvement in child care now but that certainly doesn’t mean that childcare is better in fact we still have major problems surrounding the way we look after those most in need.

We do ourselves a disservice if we continue to argue from a now perspective against a then based practice. Ireland in the 1960s and beyond was a much less educated state, people lived in fear of not just the church but of all those who were deemed more educated. Teachers, Gardaí, Doctors, and Politicians were all treated with respect and reverence. There was clear social stratification.

We now live in a very different time, we now by and large come from a more educated perspective, and we know that looking for blame in situations of conflict does not work. We need to accept that these were practices of a time; we need to concentrate on the hurt and the pain. We need to find a way of moving forward, we need to have full open and honest debate around how we can best disseminate the information of the past. We need to accept that the children of the past are the adults of the now and should be treated as such. We need to seek help from those who have self-experienced. We need to be careful about losing ourselves in fear and most importantly for those who have survived the treacheries of the past we need to be inclusive of and supportive of all.

The last thing we need in the quest for the truth is for one section of the self-experienced to subsume power and control over or on behalf of the others. The single greatest issue that stands in the way of healing is US….many fine groups have been set up to help those who are part of the adoption triad, those who were incarcerated in the mother and baby homes, those who were sent to the industrial schools and those whose very identities have been obliterated from the record books.

But in trying to support each other through the various groups there has been a replication of the power paradigm. We are now hurting ourselves as one group tries to take a dominant position over the other. This is not an Irish phenomenon this is a Human phenomenon. In Ireland if we do not recognise this soon and start calling very loudly for all actors to support us all equally then we will again lose this chance to finally break free from the constraints of the past.

Mothers Day ????


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Considering the day that’s in it, Mothering Sunday, it struck me how discombobulated it makes me feel as an adopted adult and in turn I thought of all the mothers involved in the adoption process and how they must feel today. Imagine having given up a child to adoption, then going on to Marry and having more children but keeping the first child a secret, then on mothering sunday your children take you out to celebrate with a lovely dinner, except you cant celebrate because one child is missing. Or imagine all the adult children brining out their mother for dinner and the adopted one is feeling a little melancholy but has to block this as it would be unseemly. Well these scenarios and others are playing out all over the world today. I have a Mother who Mothered me and a Mother who couldn’t Mother me. Which one do I celebrate today, which one do I thank, which one do I buy the card for, which one do I say I Love you to. Both, I cant as I only know one. So today on Mothering Sunday consider the mothers who are struggling with this and the adult children who are struggling with this. Celebrating Mothers is a bit more complex than you might think.

Bastards, gays and respectable people…


adomack1965:

well worth a read

Originally posted on Feck sake...:

I am not – by any stretch of the imagination – a regular blogger, but there are times when you simply have to speak up, and this is one of them. The following is written in a personal capacity.

The bastard, like the prostitute, thief, and beggar, belongs to that motley crowd of disreputable social types which society has generally resented, always endured. He is a living symbol of social irregularity, an undeniable evidence of contramoral forces; in short, a problem – a problem as old and unsolved as human existence itself.

Davis, K. (1939) ‘Illegitimacy and the Social Structure’.

American Journal of Sociology, 45(2): 215-233.

I have always thought of bastards (and I will explain my use of the term below) and lesbians/gay men as compatible brethren. Both have been despised and considered a ‘problem’ (often by the same groups of people), both are misunderstood, both experience discrimination and…

View original 1,212 more words

Gay Marriage, Is Breda O’Brien really threatened ?????


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Breda O’Brien writing in the Catholic Herald says…..that one of the main reasons that gay people want marriage rights is so that they can be registered as parents of children, either by adopting a partner’s children or by commissioning children through surrogacy, and/or egg or sperm donation.

No gay couple can bring children into their relationship without the assistance of at least one person of the opposite gender. This fundamental difference, with all the profound implications for children of being raised either without their mother, or their father, is supposed to be politely ignored so that adults can receive their ‘rights.’

This is an interesting if entirely flawed logic, the adoption/surrogacy/assisted reproduction industry has been providing children to straight, married couples since the inception of early adoption, gay people marrying will make no fundamental change to that position. 
If Breda O’Brien was genuine about her care for the “implications for children” she would fight a completely different battle, she would challenge policies that keep people in poverty and lead vulnerable families into being coerced into adoption to “save their children”. She would fight for funds used to procure children from poorer countries to be used to keep babies with their mothers, she would fight to expose the practice of secret gamete donation so all children had full knowledge of their genetic heritage, she would recognise that society accepting that two gay people can love in the very same way as others is a good thing, that two gay people wanting to make a commitment to each other is a good thing, she would embrace the notion of tolerance and acceptance and she would be honest about why she is against gay marriage.
This is a much broader debate than two men or two women wanting to share their lives this is about one conservative section of society wanting to control another section of society.
It is disingenuous beyond belief to colour it any other way, Bread O’Brien and her ilk need to be honest and call it as it is. They are unable to accept anything that doesn’t fit their narrow perspective.
Gay or straight people, married or not married, causes me no threat, I am married and I rejoice in that, my only concern is how we as a civilised society commodify the surrogacy, adoption, assisted reproduction industry. I am concerned that we continue to have secret practices around the purchasing of children, I am concerned that we still have sealed records of adoption in Ireland, I am concerned that we have groups of people actively sourcing children worldwide, I am concerned that Indian obstetricians are making millions off the backs of extremely vulnerable fellow countrywoman, I am concerned that we haven’t learnt from the mistakes of the past and I am concerned that Breda O’Brien and her ilk will camouflage their arguments and dress it up as something else. This is not about the danger to my marriage or yours, this is not about the dangers to children, adoption, surrogacy etc, this is plain and simple anti-gay rhetoric.

Adrian McKenna is a frontline Social Care Professional; he has worked and Managed for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services, homeless services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Committee Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, A Member of Social Justice Ireland and was on the National Committee of the YES Campaign for Children.

All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.