I was privileged to speak recently at the Foster Care Queensland Conference. It’s a significant affair – 800 people from agencies, suppliers and many carers themselves. So it was no surprise that about 70% of this crowd identified as big Bananas.
Whatever your job, there are challenges. In big corporations you need to stay on your toes, put in the hours, make sure you are seen to be performing. In small business it may be cashflow – how do I pay this staff this week? Or in fact, how do I manage all these different people?
But I have to say that exposure to the foster care industry, even though it was fleeting, gave me a different perspective on challenges.
More than once Marie and I had tears in our eyes as we heard their stories.
The couple who had a daughter with spina bifida. Once they had decked out their home for a child in a wheelchair, they thought – we are perfectly set up to foster children in wheelchairs. So they have 3 others.
The couple who were handing back a 14 month old baby to her mother after 13 months, because mum was now in a position to handle her.
The couple in their 60’s who fondly told us they had 6 of the little darlings at home from 6 to 16. They could barely count the children they had fostered over the years.
It has not escaped my notice that in my sessions, the Bananas get mocked. They’re so niiiiiice. So sweet. Put up with anything. Always put themselves last. Say yes to everything. Well people, I am here to give a shout out, a high five, a fist pump or whatever the hell is in fashion at the moment to our beautiful Bananas.
You may read this and feel a stirring of emotion. Perhaps you are thinking - thank heavens there are people like that, because I could never do it. Maybe you love the idea of saving the world but would rather do it on a more grandiose, obvious scale. Perhaps you are scornfully wondering how people could get themselves in such a way that their children even need foster care.
Your reactions are neither right or wrong. They represent a difference in perspective that allows
each one of us to have a place on the planet, all with different strengths we're able to offer the world.
In the case of people with Banana preference, it's all about the giving. When Bananas are in a caring role they have purpose in their lives. And lucky us, hey?
Thanks to Foster Care Queensland for the experience.
Lynne Schinella is a conference speaker, trainer, coach and author. Her fruit keynote, Working with People You Just Don't Get, draws on the classic four personality types and explores why we’re different, how we're different and what we can do about it.
Photo by Etienne Boulanger on Unsplash