A Career Well Chosen


As I approach 34 years working in this field I often find myself thinking about my former students and the impact they’ve made on my life. I wonder what my life would have been like without them adding their colors to it. The smiles, the laughs, the tears and every fine motor movement in between.

I had dreams of doing other things both personally and professionally. But as I look back on the what might-have-beens, I find it difficult to imagine any more satisfying profession than teaching at the time I did. Personally I could have been more adventurous and feel I would be now given another crack at it. And in today’s world I can’t honestly say that I would be a teacher again; at least not in a formal school setting. I have my reasons and they are exhausting just entertaining them.

But what I got, and continue to get, out of my life’s work allows me to feel an ocean of contentment. I feel like this has been a life well-chosen for all of the extras it’s given to me in shaping the person, Mark, that types this blog today. How would I behave, view the world or regard myself had I chosen another pursuit like, acting, or media or more creative endeavors that would have forced me to always be considering life in terms of “me,” as opposed to a life regarding, caring and helping to shape others?

Would I have learned open-ended compassion and what feels like record breaking patience during super stress-inducing times in order to help a child through and past a meltdown or one practicing defiance? Would I have learned to understand the importance of being in tune with where another person is in a moment and tolerate ignorance in those that may not know any better? Would I have been as forgiving of people’s fallibility; and self-forgiving of my own? Would I have even been in tune enough with myself to recognize my failings? Or would my ego have left me a pauper there?

I think the unanswerable questions are ok to ask despite that characteristic. That said, I feel pretty certain that the chances of learning to be and becoming the person I am today would have been weakened had I chosen paths that didn’t involve working to help others. The process and path can always be imagined differently and I am sure that many people torture themselves, as I have, over this. And, realistically we do have a chance everyday to alter that path. For me, serving to improve others lives is what gives life purpose.

No one can know the other side of the what-ifs, but what I can know is that I have been able to chisel out a better me because I have worked with the best of them, my kids:)

Peace and Keep Rising!

Me Time


Not only is it important to focus on self-care as a parent of an exceptional needs child, it is NECESSARY!

Make sure to schedule some “me time” everyday. Whether it’s finding a quiet place to breathe for 5-10 minutes. Looking up at the sky and connecting with something greater than yourself whatever that is for you. Playing your favorite song or artist.

Move your body at least once per day. Stretch, walk up and down your street,

jump rope, do yoga or whatever it is that will refresh your mind, body and spirit.

Meditate, even for 2 minutes. Block out the world, center yourself and add an intention.

And remember that it is ok to say, “No.” It doesn’t have to be a cruel or angry event. But it’s ok that your child doesn’t have the availability to control every aspect of the day. A kind, reasonable and even a stern (non-threatening) no can go a long way to benefitting not only you but teaching your child that not everything will go their way in life.

And don’t forget Date Night!

You are special. You are important. And you are essential.

Peace and Keep Rising!

*please forgive the use of the term, “special needs” in the first photo. I couldn’t find art using “exceptional needs.”