Each month the folks I work with are required to attend a community meeting which myself and another co-worker facilitate. This last month’s was a nightmare; it reminded me a lot of when I used to substitute teach crazy rowdy classes, only instead of standing in front of 30 screaming and yelling students between the ages of 5-18, I was in front of 40 cursing and threatening formerly homeless men and women between the ages of 27-70.
As I began to speak about the most commonly broken rules within the housing complex one man in particular started to GO OFF; cussing, screaming, spitting – which began a small riot of sorts; some yelling at him, some at me, some simply yelling just for kicks. Just when I started to shake a little and think “Oh goodness, this may never stop,” I heard what sounded awfully similar to the noise one might hear in a deserted desert. I stood up in order to get a better vantage point and saw Miss S., my slightly rounder, pale-faced, pig-tailed resident in a wheelchair (note: whom has full walking capabilities) perched up howling. She continued until the ruckus died down, at which point she simply smiled and leaned back into her chair as the meeting continued.
After it was over I approached her with a smirk I could not contain and asked, “Miss S., were you really howling during my meeting?!”
To which she replied proudly, “Well certainly, Miss R. and my plan worked perfectly!”
“Your plan being what, Miss S.?”
“To get everyone to quiet down by howling like a starving coyote. I was so hungry I wanted to get out of there, so I simply acted like what I felt and it worked, everyone got quiet, so that you could finish!”
That is innovation.