What you don't expect

flowerIt's true what they say: if you love your job you'll never work a day in your life. That could not be more true in my case. For the last 13 and a half years I've had the privilege of working in the social service sector with youth and adults from all walks of life, with various challenges. Working in a field that requires communication when faced with the hurdle of a stutter takes on a whole new meaning. 

What's truly astounding for me is that I've learned the most from outside of my formal education, such as when attending workshops and practicums. At the end of the day, I've learned the most from what I didn't expect, such as shifts spent counselling someone in crisis while struggling to get the right words out in order to help someone. Often those individuals are at there most vulnerable moments.

What you don't expect is that you'll be exposed to individuals from all walks of life. Some will respect you, some will hate you.  All the while you do your best to keep your feet on the ground and not let your stutter inhibit your abilities to effectively communicate.  

I have good days with my speech and not so good days – yet when a crisis arises, all that goes to the background so I can help someone in need. 

You don't expect how much this line of work impacts you, your relationships, and your outlook on life, and your stutter. There are some cases that'll just stick with you. 

Some of the most profound rapports that I've established with people has been because of my stutter.What you don't expect is the potential your stutter creates to reach out and touch those with there own hurdles. Some of the most profound rapports that I've established with people has been because of my stutter. It can show people that anything is possible. 

In my profession communication is parmount. That I have taken on such a challenge speaks to my need to reach out and make an impact in other people's lives.  

Sometimes there just are no words. I've had many shifts over the years where I've sat and just listened – comforting my clients by just being there. Sat down to a meal using the same hands that hours earlier comforted someone in distress. Modified my sentences when counseling someone because of my stutter, yet still getting the message out. 

In closing, however one communicates is as effective as the need to get the message out.  Modified sentence or not, stutter or not.  We all have the unique ability to reach out and find our own job that allows us to feel like it's not a job.

This article is dedicated to a former client of mine that passed away last year. "It's 2 o'clock somewhere buddy".


Richard Lutman lives in Stratford with his two daughters and is on the Board of Directors of the CSA

Become a Member!

Support the Canadian Stuttering Association by becoming a member. Get updates and receive our upcoming monthly newsletter.

Fill out the Membership Form today!