Sunday Reflections: How to Balance the Divergence in Us All
For those who haven’t read it, or don’t care to look it up, here’s the basis for the dypstopia of Divergent in a nutshell. Divergent is set into the future Chicago, after a war that destroyed nearly everything- across the entire United States, and possibly the world. Tris’ people are divided into Factions- societies where the people fall into based onto the trait they most value: bravery (Dauntless), honestly (Candor), intelligence (Erudite), peace (Amity), and selflessness (Abnegation). You are born into a Faction and strive to uphold their values, and choose during your ceremony to either stay in your Faction or join another, and Serve your Faction to maintain the Harmony of the City. To do less, everyone is told, is to challenge the rule and order of the City that keeps them safe.
And Tris is Divergent- having traits of more than one of the Factions- and that, history tells them, is what lead to the destruction of the world.
Now that you’re caught up, you’re thinking, Christie, what does this have to do with teen services?
Because I think out of all of the different types of libraries, teen service specialists have to be the most Divergent of all, and that takes a huge toll on us, mentally and emotionally.
Take a minute an really think about the different virtues represented in the Factions, and about what you do in teen services.
We don’t think of ourselves as Selfless- in today’s world, we think of that more for those who go on Mission Work or Peace Core or Red Cross work. Yet when you take a step back, when we’re advocating for teens, ALL teens, we are helping a hugely undeserved population in the library world- one that’s consistently lost. They need strong adults to listen, to understand, to help them and be a strong force for them, to encourage them, and that’s what we’re doing by being their voice in the public world. we may be the ONLY voice they have in a city- teen services can be few and far between, and unless you have someone yelling for you, you don’t get noticed. WE are that voice. We are the ones helping with homework when they don’t understand, staying late to get papers done, taking notice when things don’t seem right and making the connection to make sure that we’ve done everything we can to make sure they’re as safe as we can make them.
Yet we also tend to run ourselves ragged, never taking breaks or eating at our desks when we should be taking breaks, pouring personal time into work ideas and tracking down resources when it should be spend on family or ourselves.
DAUNTLESS: The Brave
And that takes a toll, because when they graduate you miss them. When something wonderful happens you celebrate with them. When something bad happens, your soul hurts.
CANDOR: The Honest
AMITY: The Peaceful
- Find a quiet place, close the door, and do a quick round of yoga: http://wildwoodmedicine.com/index.php/2012/01/10-quick-ways-to-relax-during-a-busy-day/catcow-2/
- Find 5 minutes and breathe: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_relief_meditation_yoga_relaxation.htm
- Take a Dance Break
- Create a plan or routine: if you know what normally happens, then you can fall back on that (normally)
- Declutter: I’m horrible at this because normally I’m flying from one thing to the next (curse of being chronically short staffed) but if your work space is uncluttered, you are less stressed
- I always love a website that gives me permission to eat chocolate: http://greatist.com/happiness/40-ways-relax-5-minutes-or-less
And remember, your Divergence is wonderful.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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