“The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt”
The Academy Awards are on television this weekend. Actors will win an Oscar for the moments that they shone on screen.
Instead of a red carpet, most speech-language pathologists walk down tiled hallways, across gravel parking lots, and through mountains of paperwork…rain snow fog or shine.
As SLPs, we do not win an Oscar for that moment when we elicited a perfect /r/. 300 000 fans do not rise to their feet and cheer when we help to safely bring a patient from puree to thin liquids. Has anyone ever hoisted you on their shoulders when it was clear that your contributions have helped a child become an engaged learner or an adult to regain his words?
As SLPs, I think our most prestigious moments happen with maybe an enthusiastic high five in the ‘broom closet/paper cutter room…or with a gentle squeeze of the hand behind that hospital curtain. And now and then, just once in a while, we get that whoosh. The whoosh in our heart that happens when we know for sure that the moment has such purpose…for somebody else. Whoosh.
My greatest “ whoosh moments” have happened in the following types of situations:
– It was not that my student could finally produce her “g” sound, it was that she finally believed she could do it! Oh the look of surprise on her face!
– It was not that my baby client finally made eye contact with her mom, it was that her mom could finally see into her daughter’s eyes.
– It was not that my patient could finally make a voice with his electrolarynx, it was that his wife could finally hear his voice.
– It was not that I was playing Pronoun Park with Abigail…it was that Abigail was sitting in a chair hundreds of miles from me – yet we were smiling,
talking, growing, and giving virtual high-fives in our online therapy room. Finally, I have a way to contribute to Abigail and her peers who need help.
It feels good. Whoosh.
As SLPs, how do we measure how far our collective contributions radiate throughout this world, one person at a time? I guess we go on faith, by believing in the value of our services, and knowing that those who we touch will embrace others beyond our reach.
I wish you a whoosh moment today. I bet it feels even better than winning a shiny, miniature statue named Oscar.
Marnee Brick, MSc
Speech-Language Pathologist and Director of Speech Therapy
TinyEYE Therapy Services (Speech Therapy Telepractice)