I think many times when attempting to comfort another person, a phrase I have heard (and spoken) very often is, "I know how you feel". I admit I have been guilty with using this phrase, especially if I considered something I experienced along the same lines of the other individual. However, I want to be clear that with the field I am going in to, that is not a phrase I will be throwing around.
With readings for class, volunteering with individuals with disabilities, talking to other professionals, and parents, one thing is clear: I do not know how they feel. I have never struggled with a disability that makes ordinary activities challenging. I do not know how it feels to have a child with any sort of disability (or any child for that matter). I do not know what it feels like to see one of the students I love struggle with health or other issues out of their control (and that I cannot help with at all). I just don't. As much as I want to put myself in their shoes, the reality is, I am just not there.
I have been given a different path in life. One that has been full of opportunities and void of many struggles. I have never quite understood why I have so much and others do not. Why have I not had a life in which trials were a part of my every day walk of life? It's not fair. I do not understand and have not found an answer to this. But I am not wasting any more time trying to figure out why. I have been given skills, opportunities, and want to help others and share what I can. I have wasted a lot of time "YOLO-ing" and living for me and I have come to the conclusion that bad things happen when I'm all up in my own head. It's time to step outside of "me" and use my blessings for good. I want to do "good".
That being said, to all of the parents, students, and individuals I hope to work with one day I would like to say:
I have no idea how you feel. I will not even begin to compare my challenges to your daily life experience. But I want you to know I am here to help. I am here to take the abilities and heart I have been given and try to make your world a better place. I will not always succeed at this, but I want you to know I will do everything in my ability to try. I want to make your daily routine a little more manageable, spread awareness to the community, and become an advocate for you and your families. I do not know how you feel, but I am on your side.
May sunbeams find you!