Recharging our sense of idealism: concluding thoughts.
Homan (2004) described the importance of idealism as it relates to our work in the following way:
Idealism is the belief that things could be better, should be better, and that an individual can play a part in making them better. This is not easy. Idealism requires faith, commitment, and courage. There is certainly an imposing array of forces to push back against a belief in a higher purpose. Greed, corruption, selfishness, deceit, professional jealousy and their kin are real, and they easily discourage the faint of heart. (p. 29)
The idealism that characterizes counselors and educators who are humanistic and social justice oriented will predictably be challenged by cynical persons in the lay public as well as other colleagues and students in our field. Homan's (2004) description of cynicism is useful to keep in mind when challenged by persons who are cynical about the work we do as practitioners who are humanistic and social justice oriented:
It requires no challenge to be seduced into cynicism. Cynicism is a cowardly condition. It is resignation, a retreat from the test of principle. It is easy. In an attempt to justify an unwillingness to promote more ideal conditions for human development, cynicism argues for impotence. Cynicism turns away because it cannot face up to the demands of character. (p. 29)
It is easy to see how the authors of the articles included in this special section operate from different types of idealism as they write about ways to promote healthy human development from a humanistic-social justice perspective. We hope their idealism is infectious and helps to recharge your own sense of idealism as you join with other like-minded practitioners who are committed to build a more just and a healthier world.
We also hope that the new knowledge you gain from reading these articles fortifies your own sense of optimism in the important work you do as counselors and educators. The sort of optimism we are talking about involves tapping into your own imagination to create new visions of what can be better for our clients and students and then to implement interventions to realize these visions. If this special section helps to recharge your idealism, optimism, courage, and commitment to operate as humanistic-social justice counselors and educators in the future, it has served its purpose. And, if you find yourself operating in this way and someone says to you, "You are an idealist," take it as a compliment.
Homan, M. S. (2004). Producing community change: Making it happen in the real wm'ld. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Michael D'Andrea, faculty member, Seton Hall University, and executive director, National Institute for Multicultural Competence; Collette T. Dollarhide, Counselor Education and School Psychology, Ohio State University. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael D'Andrea via e-mail: email@example.com.
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|Author:||D'Andrea, Michael; Dollarhide, Colette T.|
|Publication:||Journal of Humanistic Counseling|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2011|
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