On my commutes to Limerick I had time enough to read the entire newspaper. Back to front. I was really well informed about the background, not just the headline news, of Irish society, politics and finance. Did it make a difference to anybody? Can’t think of one. It was completely and utterly inconsequential.
That’s what happens maybe not always but very often. There is a disconnect between knowing something and acting on it.
For many different reasons.
Today, I went to the University of Maynooth with a new friend and we walked through the Pontifical University St Patrick’s College which opened its doors in 1795 as the National Seminary. My friend told me that, at the time, it was the world’s largest seminary. Interestingly, it had been built by the English Crown at a time, when Irish priest were educated in Belgium, Spain, and, most importantly, pre-revolutionary France. So they weighted it up: would it be more costly to deal with hundreds of priests educated in revolutionary France or to build them a seminary in Ireland? The choice was clear.
Walking through the old seminary with dozens of portraits of the former leaders of the seminary, hanging from the walls, slightly leaning over those passing by underneath them, was almost surreal. There was, of course, not a woman to be seen in any of these portraits. And the men seemed self-absorbed in their power and might, looking down on their flock.
Their times were different times.
Consultants and health professionals don’t have their portraits hanging on the walls of hospitals or care facilities. But many of them still look down on their patients. Despite all the talk about patient-centred care, the talk hasn’t quite caught up with reality and practice.
Systems resist change. For people, change is, more often than not, threatening.
Change will not happen by itself. It’s up to us. We have to take responsibility.
Pádraig had a great physio session today. He is working on his personal bests, his PBs, to make them not the exception, but the norm. He did more than 20 lift-your-hip exercises while laying on his back. Which was pretty cool. He is also getting much better control over his shoulder movements.
I still have to figure out how to spend more time with Pádraig, looking at the world. Exchanging views about what’s going on. Should those pictures from the past be taken down to make more room for a more equal way to deal with each other?