When I was teaching my autistic students 

with, what I thought, was enthusiasm and verve

the parents of the students I taught would oftentimes observe.


And though it’s been many years since I retired

since I left that life behind

two parents in particular…stick out in my mind.


One parent thought I could do no wrong…she thought I was a saint

The other thought everything I did was wrong…a saint, she thought…he ain’t!


I’ill admit when it came to the first parent my ego needed to practice little restraint…

I mean I was doing the best I could but please…really….me…a saint!


And when it came to the second parent my ego needed a little boost..

Again…I was doing the best I could but was I as bad as she deduced?


When my clearer head prevailed after their praise and criticism were dispersed…

I know I wasn’t the best teacher in the world…nor was I the worst.


I did do some things well and so I felt some of the first parent’s praise I earned

while the second parent reminded me…I still had a lot to learn.


These parents taught me how praise could put me on cloud nine

while criticism could cut me like a knife…

in my jobs

my friendships

my marriage

in my parenting…my life


It was probably one of the greatest lessons that I have ever had…

Teaching me to improve on any good I do while learning from the bad.


Even now, when that first parent’s doubt enter my mind…

when I find my confidence is faint…

I smile remembering there’s at least one person out there

who thinks I am a saint.


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