Saturday, July 14, 2007

OK, For Now

I'm happy right now. Content.

Occasionally I get in these little bubbles of time when I feel that everythings going to be ok ... that I'm doing ok.

There are several things contributing to this moment. First I'm on the brink of my first weekend in a long time with nothing on, nothing doing, nothing expected. No company. No travel. No tasks waiting to be done. All week I've been desperate to get to Friday afternoon. To begin two absolutely free days. Driving home from work Joe said, "How's about we go up to Collingwood for lunch tomorrow?"

"What an absolutley dreadful idea," I thought. Getting in the car and going somewhere didn't interest me in the least. But I smiled and nodded. It is, after all, his weekend too. After getting the mail Joe said, "You didn't seem all that taken with the idea of going to Collingwood for lunch." I told him that I was kind of hoping that we'd just be at home, maybe go into a movie, but mostly just sit around and be alone, at home. That was very cool with him. "Thanks."

But that's not all. I'd just finished teaching a four day class. Every summer I teach two summer school classes. The first on dealing with problem behaviour, the second - starting next week - on understanding sexuality and disability. There were some really, really, nice people in the class this summer. There always are. The thing about summer school is I get to spend some time with those attending, unlike lecturing on the road where it's in and out, and every summer I'm so impressed with the depth of kindness and caring in this field.

I had the feeling that many were leaving with new ideas and new inspiration for working with people with disabilities. A couple had alread tried some new ideas and were feeling buzzed about what they were doing again. They looked proud to be getting their certificates at the end of the four days. I felt a warm calm settle inside of me, wrap it's fingers around the fear that knaws at me daily. It was a nice feeling.

Then I got home and got a note from a woman with a disability who had attended a class I taught some while back. She wrote me a few days after that and described herself as, "I'm the shy one from your class." I remembered her immediately. Try as I might during the class, I couldn't get her to come up to the front for a role play, or to answer a question. I could tell she wanted to but I could tell that she was held back by some invisible inner force, and inner voice that told her to 'sit down,' 'be quiet,' 'shut up.'

Her note to me had just been a short thank you note. She had enjoyed the day. She thought I was funny. I was pleased. In the note she asked me for something. I wrote her back and told her that it would take me a couple of days to get what she wanted and that if she didn't have it by Sunday, last, to write and nag me for it. I tend to forget email promises in ways I don't forget telephone promises.

There the note was in my email box. A note reminding me to send her what she needed from me. That note was way better than any thank you. It was a demonstration of assertion. It was a practical result of what I had tried to teach. Self esteem. Discovering a voice and using it. I was tired but I immediately set about finding what she wanted and sending it to her. It was done in about half an hour.

It's all good.

I spend my days, like we all do, working towards a better tomorrow. A brighter future. I spend my energy fighting fights that shouldn't need to be fought. Arguing for things that should be self evident. Frustrated with caring systems that don't seem to care. Yada. Yada. Yada.

But today. It's good.

I'm going to enjoy the good for a couple of days.

I'm not going to think of the things I've got to do next week. About oppression or prejudice or ... stop it!

It's good.




Anonymous said...

Hiya Dave- I know this prob sounds corny, but I'm glad it is all good for you right this second. You deserve it :) You work hard. Enjoy your good.

Do you mind if I pass your blog address to my listserve of families who have DS members? I am sure they would get as much out of your blog as I do.

Hope USA is a tad warmer than South Australia right now!

I hope you have a great weekend!!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Heya, Lisa, I'd love it it our passed my blog addres along. Thanks for your note, it added to the 'goodness' of the day. One day I hope to come and lecture in Australia, it almost happened a couple years ago but things got in the way. By the way ... I'm Canadian - and today it's kind of cold here.

Paula said...

Hi Dave- I am pleased to hear that you are at a good place. It is nice to have thoses times with nothing on the schedule and just do as we please! You do deserve it! I have a good day each day that I start it off by reading your blog. We worked together about 11 years ago when I lived and worked in York Region and learned so much from you. About a month ago a few of my co-workers and I were talking about you and I told them about all of the experiences and stories that you used to share and how much I missed them. One of them told me about your blog. Since then I read it every day. Thank you for continuing to inspire me and everyone who ever comes into contact with you!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
I was in your four day summer school class, and I'd like to thank you for the experience.

One of the biggest parts of my job is to support staff, and to help them see the big picture of what we are helping our individuals to do.
You reminded me that the best way to do that is to have the staff "meet" our individuals. Right now the focus gets skewed, and the team gets stuck on behaviours and progams. They're kind of missing the honour it is for us to be trusted with setting these guys up for success (some of them in the community for the first time in 14 years).
The staff talk about how much they want to see certain people transition out, but we're having trouble communicating the value of putting consistent supports in place that people can take with them to their new environment.
Thanks to you, I've been sort of "refueled" in that I have some fresh ideas now, some resources from new books and learning tools, and I'm ready to dive back in with the team.
I can't thank you enough - you are a refreshing man.