I just completed The Soloist by Steve Lopez. It was a great book and unearthed many feelings and thoughts experienced by me in my teaching career, as well. We discussed the book in our book club last evening, but I welcome further discussion. Some questions to get us started:
When Steve first meets Nathaniel, he sees him as a character whose story would fill one of his articles for his newspaper, one that has the potential to bring attention to the inhabitants of Los Angeles’s Skid Row. What motivates Steve to continue to feel responsible for taking care of Nathanial after completing the articles?
I think Steve was seeking more meaningful purpose in his life and taking care of Nathanial not only filled that need, but also helped Steve grow in his ability to absorb and maintain a difficult relationship at best. The minute he met Nathanial and listened to his music, he was hooked. His relationship with Nathanial awakened his desire for finding the story that matters.
Having attended Eric Jensen’s Poverty training in the past, I am distinctly aware of the importance of instilling hope in people’s lives for their survival. In a Clinical and Research News Article by Eve Bender, Dr. Mark Ragins is referred to as the Psychiatrist who won’t accept assumptions of hopelessness. He takes the focus off of the symptoms and facilitates patients with mental illness to move through the stages of experiencing hope, empowerment, self-responsibility and the ability to achieve meaningful roles.
Recovery means regaining the purpose and meaning in life that was lost, regardless of the symptoms of the mental illness that still may exist.
Steve learned to appreciate Nathanial for who he was, instead of someone he needed to “fix”. He learned the value of being a friend in its purest form.
I welcome your comments!