So now I teach, but I don't really call myself an educator. It's what I do--not what I am. What it is is that I enjoy working with kids who need a leg up. Never knew how much I would until I stopped working at AT&T a couple of decades ago and had to choose something else to do besides writing stories (since there was no life-sustaining check attached to that vocation).
So I taught for two years in a tiny NYC public school for kids with severe handicaps. And I loved it. I bonded with all these hard-partying teachers and administrators who loved the hell out of our population of teens with cerebral palsy, life-threatening seizures, Downs Syndrome, and diseases you only hear about in movies and medical journals. Many had started their lives in Willowbrook--the asylum Geraldo Rivera exposed and got shut down for inhumane conditions.
Fall reminds me that we're as lucky as we realize. Fall says to me plant your feet, take stock, and get ready for what's coming. Whether it's kids coming back to school, hurricane season, or frost and the ensuing ice and snow. Life can be tough, but mostly it's merciful if you get your mind right. If you know better than to get "down in your cups" and fall into self pity about how hard your life is right now. Jobs aren't perfect, we don't always get what we want, people don't act the way we want them to, not to mention the weather......
It always behooves me to remember the kids I met in that small school when I first entered the world of education. And to remember their parents who wished their kids had homework or that they could do anything at all on their own. Parents who were grateful for nonprofit organizations who provided a night of respite so they could actually have a normal night's sleep. A night when they didn't have to listen out for a medically-fragile kid.
So with this change of season, be mindful of your mindset. Keep your spine straight and your eyes peeled on the many ways that you're fortunate. There are so many who suffer in ways that are beyond what you'd even imagine.
People often say I'm always smiling and that I'm so cheerful. But I've seen what suffering is, so in my heart I know I've nothing to frown about.