It had been a long week of high temperatures paired with a general lack of air conditioning. However, it was surprisingly cool in our training room for this time of year. I was conducting a training to certify some new staff and some seasoned staff in the Mandt System. The Mandt System is a person-centered, values-based process that encourages intentional and positive interaction with others. We learn and use the Mandt System in our work because the purpose of the program is to provide human services agencies with a system that teaches skills and strategies for de-escalating, resolving, and preventing conflict, aggression and violence between people within agencies and their programs.
This was a great bunch of people, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the 2 days working closely with them, but the highlight came during the afternoon on our first day of training. Outside of the training room window, our Recreation Department staff had constructed a Slip’n’Slide for students and staff alike to enjoy. We spent several hours discussing the importance of healthy relationships in the work that we do while listening to and enjoying the sounds of students laughing and enjoying the Slip’n’Slide. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day work that we do that we sometimes forget to distinguish between what is age appropriate behavior and what is not. We also sometimes forget to have fun. Even though not all staff used the Slip’n’Slide that day, several of them came down to view the merriment. There was a lightness in the air. It was a truly great moment to observe our kids exhibiting age appropriate behaviors, laughing, and having fun. It is always refreshing to step back and see our kids just being kids.