Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Autism Answer: Lifting Up The World With Important Work

Me and Shay

"I think humans have bruised the earth with pollution and disappointment." ~Shay (when he was about 14)

My second youngest son, Shay, is looking for a job. He wants to pitch in around the house financially and he wants to save up enough money ($600) to take a bartending course and get his bartending license, like my dad.

The other day we were driving through town after having picked up a job application from the local Dairy Queen. It sat on his lap only partially filled out, a grey-ish paper with identifying questions that asked hardly anything about who he actually is. Looking out the window and seeming to daydream, he sighed and admitted a feeling to me.

"I don't think I can get any of these jobs, mom. I need a job that lifts up the world. Working at a gas station or fast food place doesn't do that. Look at Dramma. She travels the whole world helping people. I want to do good, I want to lift up the world."

Boy, oh, boy, did I get it! I struggled for years with that conundrum! Unfortunately, I never voiced the issue. I only let it poison my opinions of myself and others. Luckily, my son said something to me so I was able to share what I now know.

"Honey, I get it. I really, really do! But please know that being happy and liking who you are means you are lifting up the world. Having an open mind and a willingness to listen to people share their thoughts is lifting up the world. Thinking about our home and wanting to pitch in, and wanting to follow your dream of working nights as a bartender who creates games and makes movies is lifting up the world. It's not about the job you have, honey, it's about who you are that lifts up the world. You may get a job at the local donut shop (my first job!) and discover that people there are happier when they have you to talk to. You might be happier having them to talk to. You'll learn things about working that give you ideas for the movies and games you want to write. You might discover a passion of yours that you've never explored, or you may just beam with such pride at making your own money and working at our community bakery that you grow confident and more aware of yourself. These are just small examples of lifting up the world!"

He looked thoughtful for a moment. "I guess. But my brain is so different and I have important things to say to the world. If I just have a regular job, where they ask questions like 'what is your gender and ethnicity and social security number' how can I lift up the world using my ideas? How can I be like Dramma and tell people about autism and not being prejudiced and stuff?"

Holding my long hair in my hand to keep it from whipping in my eyes, enjoying too much the wind playing with us through the open window to solve the problem by closing it, I easily answered, "It's during your life and work that you meet people to learn from and teach to. Conversations happen at work, problems need to be solved, ideas are shared. Trust me, Shay, important lifting up the world work is easy if you don't think you have to separate it from the work of living."  

Adjusting his glasses he shrugged. "That makes sense."

Giving him a sly sideways glance from my perch in the driver's seat I teased. "You're already lifting up the world, you know. But don't worry, kiddo, this important work you're interested in lasts a lifetime. You'll never be out of a job! You'll always have work to do!"

We chuckled and my son finished filling out the job application on his lap. Looking for a job that comes also with a paycheck. tee hee!

Hugs, smiles, and love!! <==== My sons' website!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

UPDATE: Shay has his first job interview this Friday!