Today marks a very special day in our family…our daughter has graduated college on the Dean’s Honor Roll and is now a certified DSW (Developmental Services Worker….in modern English…someone who cares for people with disabilities). While this is very special in and of itself I believe the story behind it bears repeating.
When Rachael was in 3rd grade her love for those with special needs really started displaying itself. As she made up the list for her 3rd grade birthday party she told me to make sure …... got invited as she was often left out by the other kids because of her special needs. Later on this child’s mother called me very appreciative as it was the first time this girl was ever invited to a birthday party. I later asked Rachael further why she so wanted to invite her to which she said that she liked to make her happy and couldn’t stand it when the other kids teased her. There were many times that followed that Rachael took care of those with special needs whenever she could and we affectionately called her our ‘little mother hen’.
And yet I don’t write this to brag up our daughter but I write this also out of thankfulness to God for giving her that gift and also to one of Rachael’s high school teachers (and Guidance Counselor) who took the time to get to know his student to such an extent that he could see and help nurture this God-given talent in her. As Rachael progressed through her high school years he was there to observe and guide her in the right direction in order for her to use the talents that God has given to the best of her ability. He was willing to spend time with me on the phone going through all the various programs together trying to match her talents with the opportunities that were available. He cared….he loved…he nurtured. Today, Rachael has successfully graduated and has already been working in this field part time and absolutely loves the work that she is doing. In what many would view as a menial job, Rachael views as a privilege. As many would not want to be seen in public with ‘those’ kind of people….Rachael is fulfilled in making them happy and trying to make an impact in their lives.
And so I want to encourage and challenge every teacher out there who reads this blog to not just teach your students but to ‘know’ them to ‘nurture’ them to ‘help’ them discover their God-given talents and encourage them to cultivate these talents that they have. Come down to their level….reason with them….pray for them…..show an interest in their lives. The time you invest in your students will NEVER be wasted as I am here today witnessing.
And so in a special way I want to thank and dedicate this blog to a special teacher Mr. David Van Brugge – thank you for your years of labor in ORCS. God Bless you!
I also want to congratulate our dear daughter on her accomplishments. School was never easy for Rachael but she is a person with a passion for doing the best that she can. What we have witnessed today brings joy in my heart as her mother and friend. Congratulations….I love you!!