I don't often think about it.
But I'm not getting old. I'm kinda actually ... old.
When I was in Thunder Bay giving a lecture at the conference on autism there, I met a wack of students from Lakehead College all getting there DSW (developmental service worker) diploma. They were so incredibly young.
They had exactly what the human service system needs - ideals. I talked to many of them and was impressed by their pragmatic understanding of what it meant to work in human services, they had just the right amount of cynicism mixed with the drop of passion that's necessary to get through the tough times.
When I talked with them they had actual ideas for what needed to change and where we, as a system, were missing the point. They spoke respectfully about their jobs and where they worked. They sold me tickets to a raffle and promised to give me my prize if I won. Wink.
So many times I've seen people driven out of this field, no longer able to take bureaucratic misfires, political decisions and harsh supervision. Good people. All who leave never complaining about the difficulty of serving people with disabilities but exhausted with serving the system.
I wish for these kids ... they don't know they're kids ... the spirit of forgiveness and the ability to use it when we mess up, the spirit of courage and the ability to stand up to us when we mess up, the spirit of laughter and the ability to laugh it off when we mess up. Because mess up we will. Often. Over big things and small things. We'll make the mess and give you the mop. But you're young, you can do it.
Keep your eyes of the prize.
My generation won the community for people with disability.
Your generation must keep the promise.
We need you.
Oh, and Brian ... go fish.