I think this title is also a book title? Maybe? I've heard it before for sure. Regardless, it is also the title of my entry. Why is being earnest important? One, sincerity smooths the way for those helping you. Two, being earnest makes someone want to help you. Three, being sincere helps someone you are helping appreciate your efforts instead of being embarrassed or feeling condescended to. Finally, being earnest in your efforts will actually put you closer to your goal because you are really trying.
How do I know all these things? I started back to work this week as a speech-language pathologist. I can tell from the moment we hit the therapy room who really wants to improve. Earnest children have a look about them. They really want to please. They try so hard. Usually there is a measure of success over a short period of time. There is also the hallmark of the breakthrough grin when something goes right.
Now believe me, I've been fooled by some pretty smart kids. However, the kids who don't care, don't try, so they don't make gains in their goals. Some kids are never going to make great gains, but if they try hard, they may make gains in other areas outside their specific goals.
Minute progress counts. I may not see a specific language impairment improve, but I may see a compensatory strategy emerge. I may not always see a stutter decrease, but I may see tics and fidgets and groping behaviors diminish. When I finally hear a /k/ sound or an /r/ sound from a child after weeks of trial and error together, I feel like the sun is shining right on us. When I see a severely impaired child discover a sign, take a turn with a class partner, share blocks, or bring me his favorite book in an effort to initiate a request, I feel like the mountains moved. I didn't move the mountains, that child did. I don't provide the cure, but I earnestly provide the path.
And that's why I do what I do.