I’m a strong believer in the idea that “things happen for a reason.” I always have been. I know it isn’t a popular belief, but it works for me. I’ve seen proof in many aspects of my own life, and I struggle to deny those instances. I recently experienced a couple of those situations within a month’s time.
When a client contacts us for a consultation, facilitation of a seminar, or a keynote presentation, it’s pretty safe to assume that they’re looking for a return on their investment. Of course, we make certain that they get just that … and more. However, every now and then, I’m blessed to be able to walk away from an assignment knowing I’ve gained as much, or more, than those I actually served.
That happened just recently twice within a very short period of time. I was invited to keynote the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association Therapeutic Recreation Institute Conference in northern Michigan. A few weeks later, I traveled to Southern Florida on behalf of EBS Healthcare to spend the entire day with the Physical and Occupational Therapists of the West Palm Beach Schools.
Both groups, although located 23 hours apart, share a number of remarkable characteristics! It’s very obvious that it takes a very special person to be a recreation, physical, or occupational therapist. After meeting, greeting and interacting with these very dynamic professionals, I couldn’t help but associate them with two other groups I highly respect … teachers and soldiers! Members of all three groups are very intelligent, experienced, well-trained, and tremendously dedicated to their work and those they so skillfully serve. The therapists are also extremely underpaid for what they accomplish on a daily basis for students, teachers and parents. However, it’s quite obvious they aren’t driven by money … they love what they do and would probably do it for nothing if necessary. I feel the same holds true for both teachers and soldiers as well.
The time I spent with these Michigan and Floridian therapists was truly priceless. It’s such a joy to be surrounded by such genuinely dedicated people who are concerned about their industry, each other, and those they serve. Their work is indeed exceptionally demanding and yet also extremely rewarding. My personal concern is that they, like teachers and soldiers, are too often taken for granted or simply unappreciated. Far too few people are even aware of what these therapists do or the challenges they must face in their quest to serve and support. And yet I couldn’t help but notice that these unsung heroes simply radiate enthusiasm and devotion!
I’d like to thank Kristine Kading of the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association Therapeutic Recreation Institute, Jill Parmenter of EBS Healthcare of Pennsylvania, and the West Palm Beach Schools for providing me with truly gratifying experiences and the opportunity to meet such magnificent people. In return I’d like to unofficially proclaim the next 30 days as “Hug a Therapist Month.” You definitely won’t regret it and they assuredly deserve it!