Thinking outside the box

I attended a work training last week and one of the things this trainer said really struck a chord with me. He said that we are often encouraged to think "outside the box" – but this sets up a framework that there is a box.

Wow, I loved that.

I have always felt that I tried to look at things "outside the box" and never saw it framed as set up to be an antithesis to "the box" but now I see it much differently.

I’m thinking about the work that I do and how we talk about things in terms of "best practice." As we have learned, what is "best practice" today will not be considered so tomorrow, as today’s efforts towards "best practice" are in reaction to what hasn’t worked well in the past.

Child welfare swings from one pendulum to another every decade or so. Instead of merely swinging back in the other direction as a reactionary measure to problems, perhaps it’s time to think as if there is no box and look at how we treat the vulnerable in our society in more creative ways. Otherwise, we will always just be like a tether ball whipping around the playground pole, slapped one direction or another depending on who has money and/or power at any given time.

After another work training today, I am really trying to wrap my mind around some significant paradigm shifts and this whole idea of "thinking outside of the box" keeps coming to the forefront of my mind. I have a feeling I will be writing much more in the future about this.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

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