We need to seek out the gifts in every child and adult. When we deem infants consignable to mediocre day­care I believe we are depriv­ing them of the pos­si­bil­i­ty of being tru­ly pro­duc­tive citizens.

When men and women over a ‘certain’ age (you decide) are no longer viewed as hav­ing a val­ue in the com­mu­ni­ty, we are depriv­ing that com­mu­ni­ty of their ener­gy, expe­ri­ence and every­thing else they have to offer.

I know so many peo­ple with extra­or­di­nary tal­ents that are right now going to waste. 

My cousin’s wife viewed her­self as unem­ploy­able at 50. There is noth­ing she couldn’t do with her artis­tic tal­ents – even to mak­ing detailed minia­ture scale mod­els for stage sets for the local com­mu­ni­ty the­atre, which pro­duc­tions she also act­ed in! Wow. “Who would employ me at 50?” she said. But she was bril­liant at what she did.

Sub­se­quent to her husband’s retire­ment she went to work in a thrift shop rais­ing mon­ey for a local can­cer char­i­ty. Now the Assis­tant Man­ag­er, her strengths once more have come to the fore because she rec­og­nized items that sold well AND she dis­played them well, unique­ly and also at spe­cif­ic times of year. ‘Her’ thrift shop is the most prof­itable in the orga­ni­za­tion! She works much too hard doing the ordi­nary aspects of her job. Her abil­i­ties should be used through­out the orga­ni­za­tion but she com­plete­ly lacks con­fi­dence in her own abil­i­ties. Every­one else can see her successes.

I now find myself in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion, although not in such an artis­tic way. I have expe­ri­ence to bring to the world when it comes to car­ing for infants and very young chil­dren — I know I make them bet­ter than they would oth­er­wise be and they are cer­tain­ly well pre­pared for for­mal schooling.

How do I find the right place for me to make a difference?

I recent­ly drove across town to my local pri­vate spe­cial needs school. It took me all my effort to have my resume and all rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion to hand, then to get myself ‘together’; you know, work out what to wear, get the hair look­ing OK, make­up too.

The dri­ve took around 20 min­utes but by the time I found the school – it’s always been hard to find – I’d run into pick­up time/rush hour.

Now, as I fre­quent­ly tell peo­ple, these days I don’t do stress. I found the stress build­ing up inside me, then saw a big thun­der­storm com­ing my way and high tailed it back along the high­way (with my 73 VW rat­tling away!) to home, and here I am writ­ing again.

I’m demor­al­ized. I was full of con­fi­dence last week – made my list of where to stop and leave my resume or fill out forms – I felt I could ‘do it’. 

Now I can’t.

Where’s my place in the world? I sup­pose I have to keep on search­ing, but time and mon­ey are run­ning out – fast.