Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We All Do What We Can

So often in the fast paced world that we live in we forget that it is the simple things that can bring the most joy. We all strive for perfection and sometimes feel like we never do enough or that what we do does not meet the standards that we have set for ourselves. I was thinking about this today and wanted to give you a couple examples of people who do what they can and take pride in what we deem as the simplest things in life.

Jeff was telling me a story about a young lady at his school. She is in the Choices program which is a class made up of kids who have severe disabilities. These kids may never function in what we call the "real world". They will never be doctors, lawyers, or teachers. Many of them may end up living in a group home with other individuals like themselves.

This young lady at Jeff's school has a job that she performs everyday. Her job is to clean the cafeteria tables everyday after lunch. Jeff said that she does this with a smile on her face and pride in her step. He said it is very obvious that she is proud of what she is doing. He said that it shows in her work. She does a great job, and she knows it.

I experience similar situations at my school. Many of the kids I teach do not fit in with the norm. Their disabilities limit what they can do or will do. When I have kids like this, I always try to give them little jobs to do everyday. It may be as simple as opening the door to let a teacher in the building, going to a classroom to pick up another student or delivering something to the office. I could do these particular tasks, but I know that it makes some of my kids happy to get to do them. I have on little boy in particular who can always tell when I am going to ask him to do something. When I say, "I want you to take this to the office." He stands a little taller, and puffs out his chest and says, "Yes, sir." When we comes back I thank him and tell him how much I appreciate his help and he beams with pride. Not only does he feel good about himself, but I feel happy to see the sense of accomplishment on his face.

As you go through your daily life, I want you to think about all of the tasks that you take for granted. Think about the jobs that you perform and don't like doing. There is someone performing that job and getting a sense of pride and satisfaction for a job well done.

Thank you all for your words of congratulations and encouragement in my recent addition to A Primitive Place Magazine. I am very excited and honored to be a contributing writer. I hope that I will do a good job and be a valuable addition to their team.

My Best to You Always,


Jill said...

Dan I am crying as I read your post today. My oldest son (almost 14) has learning disabilities & in special ed. Today I gave him a short list of items to get at the grocery store one block from our home. When he came home he was so happy with himself. He proudly told me he was a "civilized person" when doing that.

Thank you to you & Jeff for touching those special hearts!
~ Jill

Holly Hills Primitives said...

What a great post! My grandson also has a disability (controlled with medication) and he loves to come "work" at my shop. His favorite thing to do is carry the packages out for the ladies or play Santa at Christmas. Thanks for recognizing how much it means to others. Dawn

primlover63 said...


Thank you for the words of encouragement. It brought tears to my eyes. You are so correct, on a daily basis we all do tasks that we think are meaningless to us. Thank you so much for the reality check!!!


LeeHillPrimitives said...

Dan, I am in tears now. Thanks again for an awesome post. I love to read your post before I go to bed, you always give us a beautiful and amazing message... Hugs, Evelyn

Holli~Where The Rooster Crows said...

...And this is why you do the job that you do! Because you recognise what special people need and want to help them. Not everyone has that ability or the patience it requires! Thanks for a great post and for being the person you are! Good luck with the magazine writing as well! I wonder if they will ship to Canada!!??

Pam said...

I always love reading your posts! They are so inspiring & I just want to thank you for that=) Have a great day!!!

A Primitive Place LLC said...

There needs to be more teachers are there like you!Thank-you for sharing that message!

Kath ~★The Olde Weeping Cedar ★~ said...

I agree with Holli, Dan.
It takes a very SPECIAL/Giving person to work with special needs children-not just to do it as a "job" but to "want to" make a difference in their lives, to touch them in a way that makes them feel as important as anyone else...you are a very special person! wonderful post!

Congrats to you on being a part of APP's new venture. I wish ya the best...tho I know you'll do GREAT :)

Benita said...

You are such a caring person Dan and you are such a blessing to everyone that you come in contact with. We could use alot more "Dans" in this world : )
XoXoXo ~

darlarauch said...

I just love reading your posts~ you are such a kind caring person, I wished we had you at our school, or some of our teachers thought like you. Your students are lucky to have you!

Thank you for always lifting me up with your wonderful stories, Jeff must be an amazing person too sounds like he has a big heart and does wonderful with the children too.
Thanks for sharing, Darla

Colleen/And Baby Makes Five said...

There certainly is meaning, importance, and purpose in even the smallest of tasks. How lovely to know that you are building your students' sense of accomplishment and pride with these special little jobs and responsibilities. Oh, those teachable moments! They are so important.

I agree that your students are blessed to have such a caring and committed champion, modeling what it is to be a good, kind-hearted, and caring person.

Thanks for sharing...

Tamera @ the Stone Fence Cottage said...

Dan--it is truly a gift you have to "love the unlovely"! you are an inspiration to them and to us!!

carolyn@primitive~devotion said...

Dan, I am a retired preschool teacher, so I understand exactly what you mean. Even small children enjoy being helpful. And they need to be given small responsibilties while they are young so they can grow up to become responsible adults.
Congrats on your position with the new magazine. You always write wonderful posts, so I know you will do great!
Have a great week!

Kris ~ Simply Prim said...

Dan, I know exactly what you mean! I have a 21 year old daughter with Downs and even the simplest little tasks make her happy! She works at the high school cafeteria for 2 periods in the morning each day filling the vending machines and putting things like breadsticks and cinnamon rolls on baking sheets and loves doing it. She earns $1.00 an hour and gets excited when she gets her paycheck of $11-$15 every 2 weeks. She thinks it's a big deal going to the bank to cash her check and then going to the store to buy a DVD or CD!
I love reading your posts!! And I can tell that you are a fabulous teacher and have lots of patience working with the kids! You are such an inspiration!!
Welcome aboard A Primitive Place - both the forum and the magazine!! You'll be a wonderful addition to an already great group of people!!

Take care,

Shelly said...

Lovely post Dan! It kind of fits in with some inadequate feeling I've been having about myself lately!

Thanks for the words of wisdom!


basketsnprims said...

I love reading your posts. They are always so inspiring and touching. You will be a wonderful addition to APP's magazine and I'm so glad you are joining the staff there. Happy and Blessed Easter to you and Jeff ~

Angela said...

"Many of the kids I teach do not fit in with the norm."

My youngest son is like this...and the sad part is the teachers expect him to follow the 'norm'. He is just getting by in highschool. It has been a difficult for him (well more for me because he really doesn't care what teachers think of him..he is just amazing).

I have prayed so much that there would be ONE teacher that would give my son that inspiration, that "I believe in you Asher"...I guess I'm the one because it hasn't happened in school ALL these years...

Your awesome Dan and I want you to know,,,you are making a difference in these childrens lives in more ways than you will ever know...I got tears in my eyes...I can picture you with these children....

Tomatoe Creek Prims said...

What a wonderful teacher you are Dan, thanks you for taking care of them, I'm sure they just love you:)

Congrats also for contributing to the new APP magazine too!


Black Cat Cottage said...

Thanks for writing this today. I had a Horrible day at work and was feeling down because I am one of those employees that always give 150% but was treated today like the 75% type. I know there is something better out there for me but right now, today, I feel so unappreciated. Your post showed me that I need to keep on giving 150% and if my boss can't see it then it's his loss. I am proud of the excellent job I do and will not fall into the trap of doing less than I can because they don't appreciate it. When you write something, you never know how it will help someone. Thank you for helping me tonight.

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

I think Many of us know someone challenged or special needs.
My Niece is Autistic and she does'nt get "Real life",But often I would prefer to be in her headspace,she is happy,confident (in her way) and a gorgeous girl inside and out.
Never mnd the lable I just love her for who she is!
It takes a special person to be a special ed teacher,Sounds like you are doing a great job.