Hi, my name is Steve. I will be teaching you how to breastfeed your baby.

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A few weeks ago I gave a speech about my time living in assisted living to a group of senior-serving professionals. After my presentation one of the attendees approached and told me how much my project reminded her of her daughter’s real-life experience. Her daughter’s first job out of college was teaching new mothers how to breast feed in the hospital, yet she had never actually given birth or breast fed.

Several years later her daughter gave birth to a baby, and for the first time she breast fed a baby herself. She was a bit embarrassed when she realized how much perspective she lacked in her previous position, for the first time she understood her previous clients concerns and state of mind. It was a bit humbling.

I don’t think it’s feasible to require that only people who have personally experienced a specific condition or situation be involved in training or assistance, but I do think it provides a heightened awareness to the emotional state that a person is in. This raises our sensitivity and authenticity, which ultimately can make us a better “guide” to those we are serving.

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