Thursday, April 03, 2008

Vegetarian Eats Crow

OK I publicly admit that I was wrong.


I can't get into specifics because ... well ... I can't. You'll just have to accept that. Here's what happened, in general. There is someone, somewhere, that wanted to do something that I knew was impossible. Me. I knew. I'm Mr. Anything's possible ... or so I thought. I turned out to be a anything's possible within reason' person. I supported risk. Of course I did ... or so I thought. I turned out to support "Risk within acceptable limits". I attempted to be a the right kind of person but I had the wrong kind of mind.

So, when someone with a disability came to me with an impossible dream. I nodded and went all gushy about how wonderful it was to be trusted with someone's dream. I said I hoped that they got as close to their dream as possible. I smiled, my best smile, the one I learned to do in my 'how to be a supportive professional' class. Got a good mark on it, use it often. But inside I was thinking, "Never gonna happen" and "Hope that the disappointment doesn't leave a mark when your hopes hit reality head on" ... but I knew better than to say anything. I believe it's good to have expectations unreachable.

I was having a good day here in Regina. I did a lecture this afternoon to an audience that was red hot. They laughed, cried, and even stood at the end and cheered. It felt good. Joe and I went to the airport and managed to get on an earlier flight the next day.

Then I got home to the hotel and got an email thanking me for being one of the few people who supported my dream and there was a frigging picture attached of the person being impossible, being improbable, being impractical. Smiling at me. A generous smile. A smile that believed in me as I pretended to believe in them.



I've going to give up on the idea of impossible. Who came up with that idea anyways?

I think I'd rather be wrong in the right way from now one.

Double Damn.


wendy said...

Would you like a side salad with that crow, sir? ;-) Go easy on yourself! It's hard sometimes to be supportive without reservation. You did NOT tell this person their dream was never going to happen. You told them you hoped it would. You doubted, wrongly, but you hoped. And, whether you doubted or not, the person you were dealing with took encouragement from your words. They were, after all, a thousand times more supportive than they were hearing from most others. And now you've learned a valuable lesson, Thomas!;-)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and they didn't think I would go to college. Now I have a MSc. Go figure!

Kei said...

So the question is.... are you now really and truly Mr Anything's possible? Have you dropped 'within reason' from the rest of the title? Because maybe, just maybe this person was there to teach you to remove doubt so you can, without reservations, be Mr. Anything's Possible. Period. No 'within reason' or 'acceptable limits'.
And before you go beating up on your thoughts, remember this~ you believed in this person enough to encourage them. You left doubt out of your tone, your words~ not everyone can do that. Your encouragement lifted the limitation they had felt before so they were free to do the improbable, impossible, impractical...

So when you are at some point faced with some impossible, improbable future task, goal or dream, that person's generous smile will come to mind and you will remember... it is all possible.

ultratired said...

some things aren't possible. There ARE times a person will not obtain there dream. Is it right to encourage them when you know it won't happen??Aren't you setting people up for disappointment. Some people have a great deal of trouble separating possibilities from realities. Some people feel is a "staff" writes it down or appears to agree in any way that it WILL happen. I know of an individual who has a developmental disability, no verbal communication, no use of his hands and very limited use of his arms. He has pretty major mobility issues also. He want to be a surgeon at the local hospital. No...he doesnt' want this dream "adapted" somewhat so he is doing close to his dream. He wants the total!!
Is it so bad to let someone know that something isn't possible and go on to explore other things?
I'd love some feedback.

FAB said...

Dave, I think we all learn this lesson at some point. I hope your lesson can be a lesson for others as well.

For Ultratired who commented earlier I would say it doesn't matter how impractical YOU might think something to be, who are we to rob anyone of their dreams. We've all had dreans that at some point we abandoned, we probably abandoned them after trying, realizing this wasn't for us and then hopefully we moved on to find our true meaning. Supporting someone with a disability doesn't mean we shield them from dissapointment by telling them thier dreams aren't possible. When we tell someone thier dreams aren't possible, they will stop sharing their dreams! If someone has to fail for themselves then they do, so what, we've all failed! Besides, I still believe I will be a princess someday and I have the tiara to prove it!

gracie1956 said...

I have been a nurse for 30 years. My daughter who has MD and is also intellectually challenged is 28 years old. Since she was a very young child she has wanted to be a nurse like me. I think this is normal for a child to want to emulate a parent. I have never told her she couldn't do it. Sometimes I have wondered if I should have told her that her dream was impossible. After all, was I not being cruel encouraging such an impossible dream? I guess this story would be perfect if I could tell you that by some miracle she is now a nurse but she never went to nursing school and she doesn't wear a uniform. One day, about 10 years ago, she came to me and said, "I don't think I can be a nurse." I told her that was OK, we would find something else for her to do. I didn't know what that would be. A few years ago I got sick and just didn't ever get better. Today she is my primary caretaker because I am too ill to do many of the things I used to do. So maybe her dream did come true. She is a terrific nurse and I tell her so often! A miracle?...Perhaps so. Some people would say I should push her out into the work world but this has just worked out for both of us. Sometimes miracles show up in different clothes than what we expect.I guess what really matters is they do show up. My daughter, the nurse...I am so proud.

Ettina said...

The physically disabled guy who wants to be a surgeon - maybe he will be able to be a surgeon with the new technology they're developing for surgery. I heard about one technique where a surgeon in one town views and controls robotic arms in a hospital miles away to do surgery on a person, to get around travel barriers. Once technology like that is more widespread, people with no hands might become surgeons.