The Water Cooler

Author: Karen Copeland

I was speaking with a friend the other day, and learned about a situation where parents and children who have challenges were being discussed in a not so kind way. Around a water cooler. In an open office environment where privacy and respect should be present, but were not.

I know such discussions have taken place about myself and my own family in the past. I guess people think they are in a safe environment and word will never get back.

But it does. More often than one might think.

There is a danger in presenting or listening to one sided opinions; you are limited to the singular context that is being provided. Even if you do not know the individual who is being discussed, you can bet it influences how you think about that person.

I challenge everyone to reflect on how you speak about children and families who struggle in your community. Perhaps you are in a challenging situation yourself, where you have been trying to provide the necessary supports, but you are being met with resistance or you don’t seem to be getting anywhere. It is frustrating and anxiety producing. No one wants to be or feel unsuccessful. Those are valid feelings, absolutely, but also ones that should be reflected on and respectfully acknowledged in a private environment.

Not around a water cooler.




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