Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Finding Your Voice

I work for an organization that in many ways, is all about helping those with autism find their voice both literally and figuratively. It is a subtle and huge task for all those with autism and is near impossible to quickly capture the essence of the challenge.

For those not on the spectrum, finding your voice is also a challenge and in some ways is why I have feel some connection to the autism world beyond my job. As a person, I am still looking and discovering my own voice. Understanding who I am, what I am capable of and searching for my own truth. The journey never ends.

Now, as a parent, I also need to let my kids find their voices as well. My wife told me that my daughter "needs to find her own voice" the other day and it stopped me cold. Each of us, even our kids are on our own journey to discover our voices, to find out who we are and to find some measure of satisfaction in this life.
Some, like those with disabilities and disorders have the deck stacked against them. Even so, they still must find their voice... whether that be literal or more like the rest of us, who must  become self-aware and honest enough to even begin the journey. They say the first step is the hardest but how about the million other steps and million more mis-steps?

As I drove to work today, NPR did a story on Shel Silverstein, who like many artists found his voice through his art. His poems, funny, sad and poignant all reflect his voice. I had been thinking about this blog post for a while, and hearing his family talk about the process of putting a new book "Every Thing On It" touched me. The last poem, called "When I Am Gone" has a few lines in it that really struck a chord with me:

When I am gone
What will you do
Who will write and who will draw for you
Someone smarter, someone new
Someone better, maybe you

There is a man who has a voice and used it. I wonder when I'll find mine; and I wonder how my children will fare in finding theirs.

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