One of my favorite Billy Joel songs is “Honesty.” Though it was written nearly 40 years ago, it still is relevant today. If you’ve never heard it, the theme relates to how honesty is such a lonely word, that everyone (well, most everyone) is so untrue.
In our world, where we rely on so many people to support Ben’s care and development, honesty can be a problem. Mostly, it’s the small things that are untrue, like when people call in sick when they’re really not.
A bigger problem in our world is actually commitment.
Perhaps it’s the lessons my parents drilled into my head – “if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well” – why I almost never quit. If I start something, I see it through to the end, for better or for worse, even if something more attractive comes along. That probably has something to do with me being married for 3 decades, although the unshakeable bond of an intensely, deep love is the real reason.
It’s probably the reason for my obsession to help Ben become the person he is meant to be and why I won’t rest until that day comes.
It’s probably the reason why I have set the bar so high when it comes to others’ commitment. If I’m on this journey with Ben, and others choose to join me, I expect no less than complete dedication and commitment.
When it comes to caregivers and education assistants over the last 24 years, Ben has had some great ones and some real duds. The duds are partly our failure to properly screen their character, their skills and their … you guessed it … commitment, although that’s a tough one to assess.
We recently hired two new education assistants to support Ben in his pursuit of completing his university studies. One of those persons had been part of his team, on a casual basis, for the past 5 years so commitment was part of her vernacular. The other – a very keen, enthusiastic, and experienced person – was brand new to the team. In the first 2 weeks, she demonstrated a never ending desire to learn everything that could be learned to help Ben. Arriving early, not leaving until the tasks were completed. Commitment, it seemed, would be a natural trait.
Two weeks into classes, we received a text message from her on a Sunday evening, telling us she wasn’t feeling well and would not be in for her shift on Monday. On that Monday evening, she sent us another text saying she had been accepted into a nursing programme; other students had dropped out leaving new spots opened. If she didn’t accept this time, it would be another two years before the opportunity came around again.