I was listening to AJ Jacob’s TED Talk this morning on my drive into work. He began by talking about how the brain is wired to focus on the negative. It’s a strategy for self-preservation. This skill definitely came in handy during the caveman days. “Oh no! There is a vicious bear. I should go in the opposite direction.” In present day 2018, this skill just makes me perseverate on the one snarky comment following my presentation. AJ then continues to talk about how research has shown us that the one thing that best combats negativity is gratitude.
So, on this day, I want to say, “Thank you.”
He did an experiment where he thanked each person who contributed to his daily morning cup of joe. So, he began by thanking his cheerful, effervescent barista Chung. In his journey, he ended up traveling around the world to thank many including Ed Kaufmann (the one who goes around the world to find the best coffee beans), Doug Fleming (a master designer of coffee mug lids), the woman who does the pest control for the warehouse where his coffee is stored and the farmers in Columbia who are growing his coffee beans. By following his gratitude trail, AJ showed us that, in this big world, we are actually more connected than we think.
On this note, I want to take the time to give thanks to those who have given us their efforts to contribute to our profession of speech-language pathology:
Authors Within our walls, books reign. Research tells us that literacy is an effective way to address speech and language skills. Humanity tells us that we respond and connect to stories. Thank you, authors, for taking the time and heart to write your books. They are helping our students and clients on their communication journey. Personally, I would like to thank Ellen Oh, Jennifer Love, Ezra Jack Keats, Vera B. Williams and Shaun Tan.
My Speechy Village You get me, SLPs. There is no comfort like a fellow SLP nodding her head vigorously in acknowledging my woes/joys/musings/references to Brown’s morphemes. I’m lucky. I get to travel around the country meeting fellow speech-language pathologists. And, you know what? We are a pretty awesome group of passionate, compassionate individuals adorning comfy shoes and smart brains.
Pilot Pen It’s always the little things that make the biggest difference in my day. A few years ago, I was introduced to Pilot’s v7 pen, and it has changed my days as a speech-language pathologist. Thank you to the entire Pilot Pen team especially Ryosuke Namiki with Masao Wada (和田正雄) for starting the company in 1918. I find joy in writing down my due dates for my reports, I find contentment in taking data with my Pilot v7 in pink(!) and I find solace in merely holding my v7 within my hands when I am having a tough conversation. I haven’t tried but I’m confident this pen can potty train my kid.
Friends and Families of SLPs It takes a village to raise an SLP, and I am pretty sure it ain’t always easy. We bring up things like the “Zone of Proximal Development” at rap concerts, carry around stacks of folders with the intention to write reports, have loquacious tendencies to talk a lot (often about the same topics over and over and over) and find random (likely dirty and broken) items that people throw out to potentially create an awesome SLP craft. On that note, thank you to the kindest man I married, Jeremy, for always supporting my efforts and responding to my mediocre punny jokes.
Our Students, Our Clients, Our Families Often we think about the “what” and “how” of our profession. How do I do this? Here’s the thing. We are only one-half of the equation. Without our students and clients, there would be no speech-language pathologist. I want to thank our families for trusting us with their loved ones. Thank you for believing in our efforts, and thank you for allowing us to be a small part of your family member’s communication journey. I want to thank our students and clients. Thank you for always being authentically YOU. You bring us joy, and we learn from you. And, for this, we are most grateful.
Dearest SLPS, what are you thankful for?