Once upon a time, I worked as an intern in a high school with Special Needs teens. (Yes, I realize my last post was on Special Needs adults... but I'm really missing my work a lot here lately)!! They were the best kids you could ask for!!! There are not enough words to describe the joy I felt and still feel when I am with them. Again... this work is my passion. Along with the wonderful experiences I had when I worked with Special Needs adults.... I also had these special moments with the kids! They were just... different! And for me... it's good to see and feel differences... it helps me understand what I love about each type of work... work with adults vs. work with teens. (I say kids sometimes.. because unlike boring teens (I am one myself, so for any teens reading this: DON'T jump to CONCLUSIONS!!! lol) they still have their IMAGINATION... which sadly, we tend to lose with age). So where am I going with all this, besides the fact that I love my kids and miss them?
First off: WHAT I LEARNED
When working with these kids, I tend to forget about MYSELF. I stop worrying, and my stress level takes a drastic fall. Why? They make me happy. They make me smile when my world seems like PURE chaos! I can be myself: silly and care free, AND THEY ACCEPT ME for who I AM! So I do NOT have to think about what I do or say, they love me unconditionally... which we are to do no matter what... but yet still, we struggle, for we are still living in our flesh.
I love to sing! I love to dance! I love to make up jokes (which tend to be rather dry... or just plain don't make sense)! I love to cook! I love to make cards and color pictures! But with all of these things I love to do.... they love them too! Not only do they love these things, but they love to do them with me! Yes, we've had other students walk in and give us those "questionable" glances. But these kids are oblivious!! They don't care what others think! They are who they are: sweet, hilarious, lovable, kind, and generous!!
Just like anyone, my kids have had there moments. School is tough... it's just as hard for me as it can be for them. However what we focus on is abilities... if you focus on abilities... you forget about the disabilities. It's our motto. Although, some of the kids take a turn and start to regress, we have to focus on what they CAN do... what ABILITIES are available to maintain and build on. Not everything is great and peachy all the time..... but we STILL remain joyful. No one can rob you of your joy but yourself.
So here is a laughable moment I'd like to leave you with:
I worked with a young girl who has Down Syndrome. She was our "clown", always trying to cause trouble and bring attention to herself. I would come into the classroom to take her class to gym, and her "attention getting" would begin. She would tell me how beautiful I am and how she loved me so much. Then she'd stand up and pat me on the head. I would follow her down the hall until we reached the gym.
We tend to spend most of our time on the track. Some of our best memories were made there.
She'd ask me all sorts of questions. We'd sing out loud until most all the other students in the other gym classes were staring or laughing. And you know all those times you want to sing... but you can't remember all the words? Well.. no problems when you're with them (my kids)... see when you get to that point in the song... you just sing whatever comes to mind... whether it's "hmoevemamkeamops... or I love Michael Jackson... or Hamburgers are yummy!" and then finish whatever last lyrics of the song you can remember. No funny looks from them... it's just a song. And if you think that's laughable... try walking backwards or link arms and skip. We would pretend to be on a bus and my other kids would join in. We would play tag, "drive cars", and hide where "no one" could see us. But no matter how silly we looked... or how silly we sounded... it was FUN! And for all those jokes I loved to tell... well, I would either get a good laugh... or a...... "Silly Sara!".... And with either response, it always made me smile! The one girl that could make me so mad at the beginning of the year... ended up being one of my favorites (which I don't have *cough cough)
I learned... it's the simplest things in life that can make us happy, yet we choose by human nature to look for bigger and better. Shouldn't we be more like kids... wouldn't that make life a little more laughable? God meant for us to enjoy life!! And still, so many of us take it for granted! My goal for myself as much as it is for you: Laugh... take in the little things in life that make you happy just as much as the bigger things.
"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with a shout of joy." -Job 8:21
"What a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God." -Genesis 33:10