October 18, 2020
The concept of SpecialEdRising is an outgrowth of timely inspiration as it relates to the word, rising; for me, a touchstone for motivating, growing and overcoming.
When I left the classroom after 30 years, it was something I had dreamed about doing for awhile. I always knew there were other ways for me to contribute to this world; some I had already gotten a taste of both professionally and creatively. I was ever mindful of that. However, the real reasons behind the number 30, for as much as I disagreed with institutional matters through the years and fought the cravings for personal change, were two things, job security and my students.
Early in my career I quickly discovered that my interest and eventually, my skills, were very much in tune with human development and behavior management. I didn’t really like teaching subjects. I was certainly capable but they didn’t excite me. However, looking back, if I hadn’t taken that road, which kept me full-time in the classroom, I wouldn’t have had the kind of everyday, all day interactions I was afforded with my kids. Therefore, less opportunities would have presented themselves which, ultimately, enabled me to focus my energies on the heavy lifting of helping my students strive to become their best selves. My job satisfaction ultimately came from seeing their growth, no matter how great or how small.
And now it was done. The beginning of a new era of my life had arrived and with it, a world wide open to me, replete with possibilities that I could not yet imagine, laid at my feet. Little did I know it at the time, but this change was going to be the best thing that ever happened to me.
As my final day employed in the system came to an end, I was driving home in a contemplative mood and on the radio came Bruce Springsteen’s, THE RISING. I began closely listening to the lyrics. As I pulled up to the next traffic light and waited there, I saw a young man crossing the street carrying a shopping bag that read, RISE. My eyes widened and I said out loud, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I thought a lot about where I was in that moment and the idea of Rising through this transition. It was clear to me that this was going to be my new mantra and I was now wide awake to the mission of making my life anew. I was excited! Every subsequent business card I made in some way incorporated, Rising, and/or, Rise Up! It was the thing that gave me belief.
*And believe it or not, as I was pulling into the entrance to the location of my first, post-teaching interview, what do you think came on the radio? …Yup🙂
Then came the idea for a blog. That’s all. Not a website. Just a sort of special education related blog to help parents help their kids. Meanwhile, I continued to work and pick up more clients with an agency and soon had several students who were on the spectrum. This work brought me directly into the homes of not only the kids, but the families. The curtain had been raised and I was able to see what I always tried to imagine or was told by parents regarding the realities of life at home for every member of the household. It was eye opening! And it changed my resolve.
I quickly determined that, helping parents not only help their child, but helping parents and siblings help themselves and manage the unpredictability and enormous responsibility of raising a challenged child, was where I wanted to focus my energies.
The initial idea for the blog, for months, was centered their. And then in August I ended up in the hospital for five days. It was their that I had time to really mull over what I wanted to do with this endeavor once I was well. I wanted it to be more. I wanted it, now, to be a website that didn’t just give advice and encourage strategies for your kids and yourselves, I wanted it to be more active, interactive and creatively expressive. A place to yell from the rooftops! And so, SpecialEdRising took shape and is now realized and breathing and eager to grow with you.
I want to encourage you throughout your journey, to always strive to be rising to new levels of self discovery and, as importantly, arrive at a place where you allow yourself to be stuck or doubt or fail and forgive yourself when that happens. There are a lot of bumps in everyone’s road of life; no smooth, straight lines for us. Be kind to yourself and learn to lean on others.
*And remember, when it comes to your children, you know them best. In a future blog, I will speak to that because I know a lot of people have a lot of opinions that can lead you to doubt yourself.
Peace and keep on Rising!