This past week, the lawmakers in Springfield have been debating how much of the money I have been forced to give to them (and will be forced to continue giving) in the pension fund I will never see … the removal of a large portion of my potential retirement added to the loss of jobs security that is already sending quite a few in my profession searching for alternatives was leading me to think “it can’t be that bad … given my weight, I’m not likely to need that much to retire on anyway”. Always looking on the bright side while your profession is being served up as the scapegoat for the world’s problems.
Then a letter arrived yesterday …
Earlier this year, I had a student who ended up withdrawing from school … it was the second year in a row he ended up leaving at the semester. He had some really serious drug issues coupled with some emotional issues. He and I had discussed his problems a great deal as they were affecting his school work. The young man was quite bright, and his parents were supportive of finding him help … they were not too hard on him, but they weren’t lax either.
Yesterday, I received a letter from the young man. He is getting ready to leave rehab after several months. Over the course of our discussions, I had talked to him about my own family’s issues with chemical dependency. His letter was thanking me for understanding and patience and being willing to treat him as a human being rather than as some undesirable. As a gift, he enclosed his 24 hour sobriety chip.
For those not in the know, when addicts go through rehab, they are often given tokens to denote how long they have remained free of whatever their dependency is … the first chip might only be for an hour, or a day … and as times goes on they get new tokens to remind them of how long they have stayed free of whatever it is they need to stay free of. To some people, these tokens are real badges of honor, really not much different than a medal for fighting an enemy. receiving one like this was a great honor.
Needless to say, it snapped me out of the doldrums. Leave it to my students to give me a kick in the butt when it is needed.