Compliance and the art of compassionate rebelliousness 

As humans we are encouraged to comply from the moment we are born . We are weighed , a hat is placed on our head. The media, tradition, education , culture, peers, history and many more all  step into our tiny lives on a huge platform telling us we must not be different 

We hear statements like this every day 

“Does your baby sleep well? ”

“My baby rolls over now does yours? ”

“Are you STILL breastfeeding ?”

“Don’t touch the beautiful fossil on display that was formed millions of years ago – you might break it!!”

“Do your homework” often heard said by parents to 5 years old children 

“Pass you exams and you’ll do well”

“Don’t argue back” 

“Don’t touch , play nice , keep clean , stop asking ‘why?’, sit still, don’t question , clean your room , you’re too quiet , you’re too outspoken , pay your council tax, keep your home clean , revise , work hard , don’t take your dog on the beach , don’t sit on the grass , do not be selfish , speak when you are spoken to , take your medicines ”

I’m not for one minute suggesting that we all dash out and start parking on yellow lines and refuse to pay bills . What I’m trying to say is do we teach our children the art of non-compliance ? Do we actively seek to help them see that it’s ok to say no to to certain things in our life and to put our own selves first ? Do we understand that self care should be 80/ 20 ? 80 for ourselves 20 to others ?Do we encourage that it’s ok to have a different mindset ? 

Now imagine the following statements 

“Hi welcome to our shop , we encourage your children to touch the displays with your support”

“Please find enclosed your contact of employment , within this organisation we actively encourage staff to be radical and challenge our services in order to improve both patient and  staff experience. We do not wish to stand stand still as an organisation  . We evolve only because our staff evolve us”

Change for me 

What exactly sparked my thoughts for this blog ? Well on Satirday I finally got a new mobile phone , I’ve had the same one for four years and I’ve been driving my family crazy . My old mobile would randomly delete tweets as soon as I tried to open them – but strangely the rebel in me quite enjoyed this 😂

On a daily basis I respond to tweets, DM Twitter messages , emails , notifications , questions and phone calls from other midwives (mainly) and future midwives seeking support, guidance ,conversation   , kindness, responses to ideas or a plan to meet up. I  try my best to help others who ask me for help because that’s what being human means to me – to help others  . The text deficit in my life felt a bit good to be honest and then I realised that my family would probably text me more than communicate with me in the methods mentioned above . I was putting others before them – so I got a new phone . 

How strange that @JennyTheM avoided change !! I wasn’t avoiding change I was rebelling against the system for my own good, thinking that one less method of communication may give me some space for self care and mindfulness BUT I was also being blinkered and not opening myself up to the benefits of a new phone . Anyway as usual I have digressed ! (Nothing new there I hear my friends add !) 

So , back to compliance – I was adding the wonderful Whattapp to my new phone and I saw my daughter’s profile picture .The photograph shows my daughter sat eating an ice cream on some grass right next to a sign saying “PLEASE KEEP OFF THE GRASS” – instead of feeling annoyed , embarrassed or wanting to say “why did you do that?!” I felt a surge of pride . My daughter was sat carefully , she wasn’t digging up the grass , she had taken her shoes off and was enjoying a still moment in time  . Here was MY daughter – a rebel . My heart felt so full I just can’t  explain it in words . Here is the photograph 

  

The NHS and employment compliance 

Within the NHS , current systems mean that we must comply with such things as uniform, behaviour, policies, contacts , orders , emails, training , shift patterns , meal breaks, and also hierarchy . 

Our short lives begin the science of compliance the moment we are born . Girls wear pink , boys blue . I didn’t know I was going to have a daughter when I was pregnant with my first child so I bought baby clothes in every colour but pink . Over the years as I’ve berated myself for my daughters lack of girly outfits as a neonate but NOW I now see that this was due the rebel in me and also my desire to allow my children to be who they wanted to be . My parents did nothing to ‘girlify’ me or my sisters . I was  encouraged that being different was ok . However I wasn’t told by them that being different would cause me to ‘fit out not it in ‘ and also that I would face challenges both in my personal and professional life for my non-conformist ways . I am happy to report that social media has blown this out of the water , I connect with other  of the same ilk . Other  “compassion rebels” determined to care for others in a way that doesn’t always suit the restraining systems of the NHS . PLEASE NOTE that blaming is not my style I have to connect with others that are on the same mission as me . I’ve found my tribe and wow it feels good .  
It’s time for the NHS to value rebels and this is highlighted in the latest release of  ” Let your workers rebel ” published by Harvard Business Review  . It’s so important that parents also stop trying to conform their children into society as individuality is not only what makes us human it is an evolving process and part of humanity  .

Suggested activities 

Read more about rebel behaviour 

Joint the school for health and care radicals  HERE  is the first module 

Get yourself on Twitter and be present in the 21st Century 

Meet up with like minded souls 

Consider blogging 

Keep compassion at your core 
“Fit out don’t fit in” one of my quotes 
Thank you so much for  reading . I would value any feedback ❤️

With kindest love and compassionate rebelliousness 

Jenny ❤️

Ps I leave you with my poem inspired by Natalie Linden’s fab conference in Worthing on the subject of courage in practice 

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4 thoughts on “Compliance and the art of compassionate rebelliousness 

  1. Love this! Sometimes I do question myself, why am I this person, can’t I just conform, can’t I just be the midwife, why do I espouse to be lady Godiva..ummm maybe factors stop that aspiration! Anyway Jenny I absolutely get this blog, keep being a #nastywoman #boatrocker and my hero x x

    Like

  2. Allison Whitehead says:

    This is me! I can’t help myself – NHS hierarchy stops courageous employees from questioning the status quo – if something needs to be said does it matter whether you inform the very top level first ? Rather than speaking to your line manager or to the matron, or to Governance ? Why can’t you speak out at Corporate level?

    Liked by 1 person

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