I love the way the Frenzied SLPs arrive at topics to write about. Individually, we are struck with a thought or idea and announce, "I have an idea! What do you think about...?" One day I was reflecting and I thought, "What would I say to a younger me?" Here we are sharing our letters to our younger selves. I started working in the schools at 22 years of age. I had a bachelor's degree, and that's all I needed at the time. I worked for year and decided I should go back to school for a master's degree. I never gave much thought to the fact that some day I would be a veteran able to impart some wisdom to my younger self.
You did it! You managed to graduate with a BA with honors. You were accepted into Kappa Delta Pi, an International Honor Society in Education and were the secretary of your school's chapter. You were the VP of the Speech Pathology Club. And yet, girl, you played it safe. You let your reservations, your loss drive the bus (oh yeah, you literally drove the bus that was a mobile classroom).
I want you to know how competent you are. I want you to know the professional you will grow to become. You have awesome and creative ideas, act on them! Take risks my friend. Stretch yourself and grow, grow, grow. Know you are respected and loved. Learn to listen, sooner rather than later, to your colleagues and the parents of the children you are called to share your life with.
There is a memorable quote from It's a Wonderful Life, "Youth is wasted on the young." You are a passionate and funny young woman, but you think you know it all. I'm writing to tell you, you don't. Is it because you're young or is it to cover for insecurity? Perhaps it's both. Be gentle with your opinions and be gentle with yourself.
Take care of your health. Don't stay out too late, don't drink and drive, lose the diet pills and eat some food. This body is the one that is going to carry and nourish your children. This body is the one that is going to run 3 half marathons. This body is the one that is going to comfort sweet school children. This body will dance at weddings, hike mountains, and God willing live a long life. I don't like what you're doing with it.
I have so much to tell you, this letter could be a book. I think I need to find the one greatest piece of advice I can muster. You have suffered so much, but you have also known love and happiness. Remember, you are not a victim! Your choices define your destiny. The greatest advice I can give you, is to know where your value comes from and where it doesn't come from.
- It does not come from your family.
- It does not come from your professors.
- It does not come from your administrators.
- It does not come from your colleagues.
- It does not come from your friends.
- It does not come from ASHA.
- It does not come from your students or their parents.
Your value comes solely and exclusively from you. It comes from your actions and your words. Your value is about you and you were created by the Master artist for good and beautiful work. You are a creation that will touch so many lives with love and humor. Know the gift you have to connect people and bring a group to a place of love. Understand this. It has taken me a lifetime to to say out loud, "I love you!"
With love for who you were, who you are, and who you will become,