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My New Windows

Dawn of Hope, a human services provider in Tennessee, recently achieved CQL’s Quality Assurances Accreditation. Pam Sams-Cox, the organization’s Chief Compliance Officer, shared the following reflections during Dawn of Hope’s closing accreditation ceremonies. Read this touching and inspiring metaphor about her shifting perceptions of the accreditation experience.

By Pam Sams-Cox, Chief Compliance Officer, Dawn of Hope

I love my new windows. But I didn’t at first.

I watched as the installers ripped out the old windows, the ones I picked out, sanded, stained and polyurethaned with so many coats they were smooth as a baby’s butt. I watched as they ripped out and even splintered the beautiful wood slats and panels and removed the last vestiges of debris from the brick openings that were over 30 years old.

That’s 30 years of cranking the stiff and squeaky windows, 30 years of worrying and watching for my children’s headlights to appear on our long country road home, 30 years of watching the snow and wind blow, and how in the 30th year evidence that a strong, hard hailstorm can finally do something in.

When they put the new windows inside the openings, we were mentally prepared and made to understand the new ones would be different. Because apparently, they don’t make windows like the ones we had anymore. I had no choice but to agree. So I reluctantly was passive during the entire install. Paying very little attention to the actual installation and framing, etc. Pretending to be indifferent as if somehow this would help me with the big transition later. As the windows went up, my family went out several times and admired them. I only went out once and saw the different window shape and was a little disappointed at the new shape and size. It was weird and square.

After they were all installed and the glass made all shiny and wood trim all polished, the installation guys left. I went out and looked at them again. “Eeehhh, I can live with it,” I thought. Then I went inside to inspect. From the inside the window perspectives were completely different. So much more light could come in. They were prettier, modern, and were super easy to open, overall quieter and much more efficient. The new windows were wonderful, and then I realized I now felt differently about them, I LOVED THEM! They were fresher to the overall aesthetic to the home, thus adding real value. As windows go, the old ones were useful and good for their time, but time brings change… sometime bad changes such as weathering damage and overall aging and inefficiency. But time also can bring good things, such as innovation, improvements, and upgrades.

This is how I felt our CQL processes were working out for us this week, our realization that yes, we are aware we need change, we see it, we sense it and we know it, but… ohhhh how change is hard to accept. Sometimes we may be willing to let go of the old, but the old memories cling to us like fabric softener sheets. We have to peel them off meticulously and carefully, or those old practices will cling right back on. We are glad for our new CQL windows. We are glad for our new views and perspectives.

I believe we’ll crank these CQL windows wide open and see what the new day brings in.

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About CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership

Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.