The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Tuesday, March 1, 2011]

Saying Yes

So somebody from church (okay, it was the Bishop) asked me to accompany him for a trombone solo in sacrament meeting on March 13. That's in two weeks! Well, it was when he asked.. now less than two weeks. My mouth said, "Sure," which is what it always says.

He said he wanted to play "The Lord's Prayer." I said I wasn't really familiar with it. He said it has a lot of flats and is kind of hard at the end.

Yesterday, the Bishop emailed the music to me, and this is what he sent.

I'm actually fine with the five flats. I think well in flats for some reason. If you know music, you're probably thinking that it doesn't look so bad, and I thought the same thing. It says lento, which is 56-60 for the quarter note.. slow. But there are few quarter notes. It's all triples, which are three to a quarter note.. math.. 168-180! What killed me were the simultaneous arpeggios on the first two pages. And the jumps in the middle of the last page, where it's down-up-up and up-down-up so quickly, and with 4 or 5 notes in each chord.

The first few times through were pretty painful. Laynie thought I had lost all musical skill--she actually looked worried. She's only seen me play familiar pieces and regular church music; for example, the choir director also gave me a piece of music on Sunday, which I took home and played right through with nary a missed note. I explained to Laynie that the process I was going through with the music from the Bishop is normal, and I'll get better as I build muscle memory for that piece. I used to go through this process regularly in high school, when I did a lot of accompanying and when I was motivated to learn hard music. Just because you can't play something the first time you see it doesn't mean you can't play it. I'll learn it, but it's going to take a lot of work, a lot of time.

I don't know that I'll be so quick to say yes next time.

Oh, who am I kidding... Of course I will.

My inability to say no affects me at work, as well. Despite being busy with my own caseload, I can't help but say yes when others ask me to consult on their cases or observe a kid or whatever. Case in point: Today I went with one a resource SLP to visit an adorable little boy with hearing loss and cleft palate. The resource gal is a friend of mine, but I didn't know the SLP assigned to that elementary school, the one who was working with the child regularly.

As I listened to the child's speech and language errors, which were many, it was immediately apparent to me that the speech errors were mainly due to issues related to the cleft. Hearing loss seemed to be impacting his language to some degree, but the articulation errors were classic cleft palate speech. He reminded me of a couple of kids I worked with in the past.

Following a consult visit like this, it's customary to discuss observations/findings/recommendations with the SLP working with the child regularly. Typically they give lip service to agreeing with you, argue a few points, thank you for your time, and go back to doing what they were doing. Not so in this case.

She argued with everything we said. Not politely disagreeing but becoming quite agitated. The things she said were absolutely off the wall. All I could think was a. Is this person for real? and b. Why did she ask for help and then reject everything we said?

And there's more to the situation.. I'm not even going to get into it. Sometimes fighting for the best interests of a child involves fighting a powerful machine. And I HATE educational politics.

I don't know that I'll be so quick to say yes next time I'm asked to consult.

Ack. Yes I will.

I was going to close the post here, but I was just thinking about another time that I said yes. Last year, an SLP posted a question on the conference about two tough preschool articulation cases. I emailed some suggestions to her, which began a dialogue about how to work with a problem like the little boys'. It happened to be a specialty area of mine. At the next speech meeting (all the SLPs get together for instruction and once a month), she found me and somehow convinced me to come out to her school to see the boys for myself and give suggestions. As you might imagine, I wasn't difficult to convince.

I went out and had some suggestions. She didn't argue with a thing; she took notes! She thanked me profusely as I left and seemed quite genuine. I felt great that I had helped her and that the boys would make more progress now.

Months went by. This past fall (so probably six months later), she tracked me down at a speech meeting again to tell me how the boys were doing. One was doing great, and the other had made little progress. She understood what to do with him now, which was progress, but she still couldn't get him to say the sounds he needed to say next. Of course I agreed to go out and see him.

The first time I went out, this little guy was so shy that he wouldn't speak directly to me. The other SLP ran the session. The second time, I ran the session--I brought fun toys and games and was EXTRA fun and SUPER silly, and the little boy was willing to play me and try what I asked him to try. I was lucky, because I got him to say one of the target sounds. The other SLP, who was again taking notes, nearly cried. She had been working on that since the spring. He said it about a dozen times for me, and I passed the baton to her.

After that visit, she and I talked for a long time, about work and also about her personal life, some of the hardships she'd been through in the past few years. This time, we didn't part with a "thank you" and "oh no problem." We parted with a hug, as new friends.

Which goes to show that saying yes is a very good thing.


Post a Comment