Thursday, October 31, 2013

A gift / surprise

So when I was in the urologist's waiting room, I chat with a mother and 7th-grade son (the youngest of 3, the oldest is going to be heading off to college next year). So I tell the kid some ways to take charge of his own fate in how one (he) approaches his school work--it was clear that Mom was someone who took No Grief From Anyone, so helping the young one to grasp and use his own power, I figured she'd approve (oh boy, did she ever!) and also told her some of the really cool--and really true--things about walking the "college road" simply and cheaply, and how starting off at a community college was not just a cheap thing, but a good thing... "Tell my brother the college teacher who started at Glendale College, and me who got two degrees from Yale and then a doctorate who also started at Glendale College, that community college isn't a good thing. We certainly don't think so... so yeah, go for it!" I smile, Mom smiles. Everybody is happy!

And here's the kicker... I "shared the shiny" as a friend of mine likes to say; I reassured Mom who's facing the Unknowns of College for her eldest, and worried about how the Little One is going to survive middle school (middle child is safely lost in the fog of high school, for the moment, but what I told her about college will definitely return to assist her). Told the child "You do things the X, Y, and Z way, and YOU have the power." Kid looks bewildered that he might actually have power to control his own life, and Mom is very happy for child to hear this and clearly is definitely going to remind him of this in the years to come...

And the reason that I was able to bring this comfort to those two people on that particular day in that particular place, is because I have MS and an oddly functioning bladder and I needed to talk to that particular urologist on that particular day in that particular place.

I was precisely in the place that enabled me to help people because I have MS. And that particular version of MS, that brought me to that urologist on that particular day.

A gift that may very well keep on giving, that I was able to give because I have MS.

That is indeed a very surprising gift. To be thankful for having MS because it catalyzed me helping other people.

As a friend of mine paraphrased the Grateful Dead, what a long strange trip it is.


eo said...

I think you should be sharing these things with rooms full of kids (& their parents!) 25 years of teaching & knowledge & insight... How about talks to middle-school classes &/or assemblies? To stressed-out seniors? How about a book? More, please!

Muffie said...

So sad that you had to leave the world of academia! You must have been a fantastic teacher.

Robert Parker said...

eo: I do maintain a *constant* offer to help my various classmates from my various academic institutions to help *their* children deal with the Grownup Teacher universe. A larger scale contribution is ... still in the "maybe" column. A book? I must confess I'm contemplating it, but extending the actual effort to create, produce, and (shudder) publicize/market it is just too much, right now.

Right now. But as to the future, who can say?