After 20 or so years of working with people with disability I might be excused for thinking that there possibly is a genetic or other deeper (maybe more mysterious) link between people with all sorts of disability and bowling. While in the general community only very few people under, let’s say, the age of 55 years bowl, it seems to be endemic to the activities many, many people with disability are involved with.
Now I’ll come clean straight up. I find most sports pretty boring and I don’t really understand why you would want to do any of it, but that’s not my point.
My point is this: Some time ago I had a conversation with, let’s call him, Frank. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Frank, you have been bowling twice a week for at least 15 years.
Frank: Yeap, two times a week
Me: You must really love it.
Frank: Yes, I go two times week.
Me: So, you must be really good at it.
Frank: No, I don’t bowl.
Me: (???) What do you mean? You don’t go bowling?
Frank: Yes I go bowling, two times a week.
Me: But you don’t bowl?
Me: What do you do then, at the bowling thing?
Frank: (and his whole face lights up) I talk to Eric.
Me: Eric, who is Eric?
Frank: Eric comes on another bus. We talk about trains. We love trains!
Now I am not saying everyone who plays bowls should be talking about trains. Nor am I saying that everyone who plays bowls really loves something else. I am saying something about listening and what we listen for, but all that communication stuff is probably for another blog.
I want to focus on this idea of choice and what it actually means. With Frank, he has learned to make the best out of going to bowling and he has learned to ‘like it’.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is just around the corner, and Consumer Directed Care (CDC) is becoming a reality any minute now; we all have to make more and more decisions. With lots of talk about choice and people being in control, it sounds sometimes like just because we have all this choice life will be wonderful.
But it is important to remember:
Sheena Iyengar, a woman who researches choice (watch/listen to her Ted talk on “The Art of Choosing”) provides 4 tips on choice making:
futures upfront developed a range of resources for My Choice Matters, including this workbook about choice making.