Ann Voscamp, author of A Holy Experience, recently wrote a post on “When you feel like pulling your hair out“. While her perspective is from a mom of 6 and successful author, I read her insightful post and thought of Speech-Language Pathology.
Her post centers around a well-known verse in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Since I still have my SLP training wheels on, my supervisors and professors still give me much-needed critique and feedback; some of my frequently occurring comments are “Be patient, Katie” or “Give the client time to respond” or “Just wait”. Obviously, I am still falling off the tricycle of learning, but I “always persevere” as the scripture said.
How many Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists posses one or all of the above qualities? Some of the best therapists I have observed have exuded patience, kindness, truthfulness, and perseverance. When describing clients’ progress there is a sense of hope with an absence of boastfulness, nor rejoicing in their regresses or plateaus. Still, there are days of difficult clients, stressful bosses, enormous piles of paperwork, and endless journal articles to read. The true test of “Love is patient”. So Voscamp asked an important question, “Why is patience first. Why not first, ‘Love is gentle,’ or ‘Love is tender?’” I truly never asked this question; but her answer holds true for the SLP just as she suggests for the everyday life.
She offered the following:
Patient people dare to gratefully accept people where they are…dare to live only in the present…In every moment I want to escape, some hidden gift hides, if I wait patiently and dare to live fully into that moment.
How many exciting therapy opportunities have I missed because I became impatient with an uncooperative, inattentive client? Where could therapy have gone if I had just unwrapped the hidden gift of a therapy moment? If patience comes first in Love, then patience should come first in speech therapy. I will practice being grateful for the moments I am in, despite the chaos or unexpected behaviors that arise because, if nothing else, I am persistent.