Søren Kierkegaard: Extracts from A Direct Communication , 1859:
...If one, should in all truth succeed in bearing a person to a particular point, first and foremost they must take care to find him at his source and begin there.
But the true art of helping begins with humility. The helper must understand that by humbling oneself before them, he will render help and thereby know that helping, does not mean seeking dominance, but seeking to be the most patient, that to help is a willingness to submit to time and accept not understanding what the other understands.
Objectives for the Hunderup Collective
The goal is to maintain a positive and dynamic environment for the child or youth that has been removed from their home as well as for adults working in the house.
We aim to strengthen conditions for an inclusive environment that validates the individual, supporting the development of their social skills so they can immerse themselves in the house's community.
With this in mind, it is vital that the staff act as role models. That they have the time and the competence to reach out to the kids and see eye to eye on getting them to help out with daily chores, ending conflicts and creating conditions for positive social relationships and experiences.
Overall pedagogic goals
At the Hunderup Collective, we follow a humanistic view of life.
We do not maintain any particular pedagogic ideology or therapeutic direction alone. Rather we start with the individual. Our philosophy stems from our understanding that while troubled kids possess common traits, each kid and their family has nuanced problems. Our primary focus is on relationships. We believe that we, as pedagogues, can engage the kids in daily activities that stimulate their joy of life, generating experiences that show them that they can cope with the challenges of daily life and deal with the demands of interaction in society.
The Collective's Pedagogy is Based on:
- Recognition or Validation
- Limiting Rules
- External Supervision
The kids who live here for shorter or longer terms are typically pubescent youths, characterised as being “culturally deprived”, “neglected”, “abused”, and affected by dysfunctional families, from interrupted schooling, criminality, suffering from low self-esteem, social dysfunction, etc. Despite the weight of painful experiences and patterns kids bring with them, we make it a virtue to separate social pedagogic efforts from actual therapy. This means that, despite having qualified therapists on staff, we maintain the prominence of social pedagogic
fundamentals, reserving psychotherapy/psychology sessions for a specific time and place.
As professional social pedagogues, we strive to create a framework, activities and social relationships that provide kids with the necessary care, enhancing their sense of security, confidence within a community as well as in themselves and their own abilities. We work toward behavioural adjustments, according to the specific circumstances of each of our kids.
We believe in the concept of recognition, and that even behind inappropriate behavioural traits something positive can be gleaned. From a humanistic perspective that imagines every person tries to be as good as they can, we endeavour to find the good in our kids, their strength in character, and build upon it. In this way, we can guide the kids along toward a more positive perspective on life that teaches them to pursue new opportunities and create for themselves conditions that comprehensively improve their quality of life.Our focus revolves around possibilities rather than limitations.
We consider the relationships established in our dynamic house between adults and kids and among the kids themselves respectively as constituting a pivotal crux in the learning that happens here.The kids that live here often come from a typically vulnerable situation without a strong network or community, having experienced much turmoil without any emotional support. It's important to expose the kids living here to developing and supportive social relationships. Developing and supportive relationships are those marked by honesty, characterised both by distance and closeness, forged from self-esteem and acceptance of oneself, with communication and influence and with recognition of the individual's grasp of reality.
Honesty begets honest. If we are not honest with ourselves or with others and deny the feelings we have, we cannot teach the kids to accept themselves and the feelings they hold inside.
It is therefore vital to always be acutely aware of any problems; if the kids are troubled by anything. Sometimes, in full honesty, rules need to be established. It's not that boundaries always should insulate the kids, but it is important to show where our own limits are; for we can, in reality, only set limits for ourselves and try to reconcile them and communicate them to others, just as one must try to understand and respect other people's limits.
Relationships should have both the capacity for closeness and distance. That is to say we try to find a balance between empathy, understanding and involvement in the kids' sorrow and joy on the one hand; but to give them their space so as to avoid focusing too much on their emotions and sense of powerlessness on the other. It is essential to give the kids the chance to be an individual with the integrity of their emotions, and to ensure space and care rather than interfere to much in their experiencing of happiness or despair.
On the whole it is very important that the kids' own view of life neither be neglected nor tabooed. If they express or hint at something potentially dubious when they describe their experiences with their family and friends, we are compelled to accept the world view they present at that moment as what they perceive.We perceive different things based on our own history, and if those experiences are disrespected, our individuality is not respected and our ability to independently cope with the world is compromised. This obviously does not prevent us from being critical about peculiar realities in a time when diversity is everywhere and people see what they understand.
It is the social relationships through which young adults communicate and interact, that they construct their self-awareness and self-worth. If the kids are to escape the patterns that typically characterise their life and upbringing, it's crucial that they experience interactional relationships with adults and other youths that incorporate acceptance and confidence toward the individual's resources and potential, just as it is important for them to realise that they can communicate through dialogue to others their thoughts and needs, and thus influence their own life. Accordingly, when social relationships achieve the level of acceptance, engagement and sense of security, the opportunity materialises for the youth to develop self-acceptance and faith in oneself. At the same time there is an opportunity to learn to create and keep close relationships to a fellow human being. In a few substantial words it can be claimed that through engaging the kids in social relationships, they enter a learning process that is pivotal for establishing a good life together with others.
We have deliberately dedicated our efforts toward maintaining an open and cooperative environment: open to the local community in the area around us, whose acceptance and support on which everyone in the house depends; open to the schools and employers where our kids spend a great deal of their time and open to friends and family. Although we don't perform family work in the clinical sense, we strive to create an atmosphere of cooperation and acceptance essential to coax the young individual to open themselves up to the help and support the Collective can provide.
In conclusion it must be mentioned that we stress the importance of continuity, engagement, comfort, the kid's right to be a kid, participation in community together with the opportunities and challenges presented to the youth by the society in which we now live. These elements are essential to the pedagogical environment we work to sustain.
Cooperation with the family
We work with the following assumptions about youths removed from his or her home:
- they are associated with loss, sorrow, longing and emotional abandonment.
- their parents are associated with sorrow, shame, blame and powerlessness.
Therefore we believe in the importance of cooperation and the need for empathy, consolation and integration. We believe that cooperation with parents and those that care for the individual kid is important. We are accommodating to the needs of the family. This means that parents will be invited to participate in meetings with teachers, shopping for clothes, going for a haircut, doctor's appointments, trips to the dentist, etc., should both parents and the youth wish it. Parents and relatives as well as other care-givers are always welcome at the house.