The other day, a dad working with his typical child looked at me working with a client and said, “Wow, that must be really hard. You are such a good person.”
He caught me on the wrong day. I looked right back at him and said, actually I can’t stand typical kids. Okay, okay, that was unkind of me to say and not truthful. But it was more appropriate than throwing something at you, which is what I really wanted.
Here’s the thing. Sure my job has its hard days. I work with 10 kids who have some complicated needs. But I can promise you, my number of hard work days are no more than yours. Because this is what makes sense to me. It works in my brain. Just like being a doctor, or an accountant, or business owner works for yours. Put me in one of those roles and my reaction to that dad would have been yep, my job is tough and I hate my days behind a desk or in exam rooms.
But working with kids who have special needs doesn’t give me an honor or a badge of excellence. I’m good at what I do. But I’m not better becatse of what I do.
In fact, I can be pretty selfish sometimes. The student I’m working with needs a walk break (no he doesn’t… know I do). But my babes are forgiving, which teaches me to be forgiving. They teach me to appreciate really small things, because it’s so so easy to grumble about traffic and not enough coffee in a day and waking up early (which I still work on everyday). But they also teach me sometimes it’s ok to grumble and tell someone to move.
I’m no saint. I am lucky that I found a way to spend most days happy at work, because there are a lot of moments where it just feels like life. (And the easier part of life), where I can ask for a hug and always get one, beam when we hit milestones, go on walks, cry together, oh and laugh so much together.
So, world, please think about your response next time someone tells you about their very noble job. Instead of assuming it’s hard, ask them what it’s like.
Because it’s pretty great.