It was a chance to remind these care giving allies how much they mean to families like ours.
Tim shared a story from our book, recounting how we threw a little party to offer a personal goodbye to one of our son’s music therapists before we moved to another state. He noted that educators, medical providers, therapists and all kinds of other direct support folks don’t hear from families unless and until something is wrong. Our interactions tend to be steeped in bad news. We need to find ways to say thank you and, as the New Testament puts it, encourage one another and build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
As we shared in an earlier post, community support agencies have the heart and vision to provide all kinds of help to people with special needs and their families, but are hindered by lack of staff. When Tim asked his audience what things families, churches, community groups and other neighbors could do to enhance their work, responses included
- Identify people suited to care giving and encourage them to consider it as a career
- Help the public understand the work of service providers and why they do it
- Provide meaningful interactions and opportunities in the community for the people receiving services
- Express gratitude to caregivers
- Engage in advocacy work on behalf of community support agencies
One of the people present spoke of care giving as possessing the dignity of risk. Caring for people with special needs means going down unfamiliar paths, trying out the untested, sometimes trusting intuition in opposition to common sense, and learning to center efforts on the person in our care instead of our own expectations of “what’s best.”
Families have this risk, dignity and all, dropped upon us when our loved one is diagnosed. We accept the risk out of love and duty.
We are blessed when folks who don’t have to accept it choose the dignity of risk as a way of life. May their tribe increase.
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)