I stood up in front of 175 people yesterday morning at the end of a 3-3/4 hour meeting to deliver a message of hope (NO ONE still wants to be there after that long a meeting, neither the audience–especially not the audience, nor the presenter approaching the podium) and opened with, “2015 has been pretty much a nightmare for me.” Bet they didn’t see that one coming, did they? Yesterday was our opening departmental meeting for our entire staff of speech-language pathologists; we close these gatherings with something to think on, an idea that will give them hope, will challenge them in some way, or give them pause or cause to reflect on their work and the students we serve. Working in the fourth poorest and most highly racially segregated city in the US can be difficult, heartbreaking work, but the challenges and opportunities presented will elevate your practice and your humanity. Or break you. Or both.
“Will this school year be a dream come true, or will it be a nightmare?” I asked.
“You get to pick.”
My point in opening the year with this dream come true/nightmare metaphor, which by the way, flowed more cohesively and cogently than you would be led to believe by reading this hit-and-run blast drafted in the middle of the night, was that despite feeling overwhelmed with circumstances in my life that are beyond my control, I was still the owner of control of the way I view things. I said that I wasn’t ready to declare 2015 a total loss yet, that I, WE, still had time to effect change and make good things happen. That we as speech-language pathologists have the opportunity to help students identify and give voice to their dreams. That is kind of an awesome responsibility.
“What do you need to do in your practice or what do you have left to accomplish as an SLP before you can drop the mic and say, ‘My work here is done? That my dream has come true?'”
2015 has been a nightmare, there is no denying that. But in a year that handed me more gut punches than I can count–standing eight and I’m on the ropes, knees giving, but I won’t lose hope–I choose not to lose hope. I had a dream come true in 2015, and I’m going to pin a whole lot on that having happened. Dreams > Nightmares.
And then I got home to learn that my middle schooler’s band audition went just the way he’d hoped! MD-related, but non-specified myopathy affects his face, so the trumpet wasn’t going to be his thing. Nope, no wind instruments for him. Percussion, baby. I have a drummer! His dream.