Love is action and a life time commitment. My Godmother made sure I understood that passion, patience, willingness to go the extra mile, and perseverance were necessary to demonstrate love. Being a part of my life since birth, she was confident that when she made her introduction I would fall in love.
In the 10th grade, the introduction was made. Immediately, I did fall in love. I fell in love with the opportunity of helping make life better for others, regardless of their age, and being able to make a difference in a variety of places. You see my Godmother introduced me to the speech-language pathology profession. It was one that I had never heard of before but it seemed just right for me. I loved to speak and jumped at the opportunity whenever it presented itself! The idea of helping those who could not speak really resonated with me.
Most of us take our ability to communicate for granted, and do not realize how extremely difficult it is to live a productive life when communication is impaired. Other than the absolute essentials of air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and shelter from the elements. nothing is more vital to humans than the ability to communicate. In my quest to learn as much as I could about this profession, I wrote off to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The packet of information I received helped me to understand all the opportunities that awaited me as I worked to help others. Off to Hampton Institute (University) I went to learn all that I needed to get started. There I met my first Mentor, Dr. Robert M. Screen. He was all about excellence and his core value became mine. He had earned his doctorate at Michigan State University and supported me in receiving a scholarship there to earn my master’s degree. The more I learned about this profession the more I fell in love.
Once armed with my degree and credentials, I began to pursue my love with others. My love intensified as I saw the smile of a child who could now be understood by a parent, teacher, or friend.
The tears of a person who was now able to return to work after recovering from a stroke. A kiss between a husband and wife because love could verbally be expressed again in that simple phrase, “I love you.”
My love grew as I taught students about my love and watched them light up when they learned a new concept, made a new discovery from their research, and celebrate with family and friends when they obtained their doctoral degree.
My love reached new heights when I was able to meet with other professionals around the country and facilitate the development of policies, best practices, and new systems.
You see I learned from my first love that what brought me joy was not just evaluating, providing interventions, teaching, conducting research; but rather it was the results or outcomes of those activities. My love for speech-language pathology led me to my true love, a love for outcomes.
As I pursue my love for outcomes, I can never forget my first love!
If you know a student who you think might benefit from my first love, check out my very first book, which is in its third edition, Opportunities in Speech-Language Pathology Careers (McGraw Hill). May is “Better Hearing & Speech Month.”