The Difference Between Completed and Finished Jan 16, 2013

Work on the Annual Resource Guide begins the day after the last guide is put to bed. Providing the most reliable and trusted compendium of resources for the special needs community begins with the realization that we will never "finish" or never "complete" the work.

By Rick Rader, MD

I don't know where these internet ditties originate from, but their spread rivals that of Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Thinking it was some intense metaphysical treatise someone sent me (and it was after lunch, so I was primed for such an intellectual excursion), I actually opened it and read it. After all, the subject field said, "The Difference Between Complete and Finished."

No dictionary has been able to adequately explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED. However, in a recent linguistic conference held in London, England, and attended by some of the best linguists in the world: Samsundar Balgobin, a Guyanese, was the clear winner.

His final challenge was this: "Some say there is no difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED. Please explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED in a way that is easy to understand."

Here is his astute answer: "When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE. But, when you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED. And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!"

His answer was received with a standing ovation lasting over five minutes, and it entitled him to receive an invitation to dine with Queen, who decided to call him after the contest. He won a trip to travel around the world in style, and a case of 25-year -old Eldorado rum for his answer.

Okay, so that is mildly amusing at the expense of being sexist. But beyond that, it did leave me in a philosophical mood pondering the thought, "What is the difference between complete and finished, especially in the context of parenting a child with special healthcare needs?"

The obvious answer is, "The exceptional parent is never finished!" Even with the tragic death of a child, we have seen motivated parents dedicate their lives to finding answers, fighting for access, promoting equality and fighting indifference. For them there is no "finished."

Many exceptional parents report that they were "complete" the moment their child was born. Some gravitate to the camp that they were "complete" when they came to terms with their child's disability or accepted the "new normal" that comes with whatever comes.

There are some human undertakings that never result in either being "finished" or "completed."

Even in the military, when it is declared that the "mission is completed," we don't see the troops packing up and heading home. There is always another mission to mount, another hill to take, and another victory to be wary of announcing.

Parenting a child with special needs is very much like that.

While one may win placement in a select special education class, or receive long sought after services from an insurance plan, you would never see parents perform an end zone "mission completed" dance or spike the ball routine. They realize that no sooner will one "mission" be put to rest that another one will announce itself. There is simply no time for an exceptional parent to hang the banner announcing "mission completed." A lesson learned perhaps from former President George Bush's display of the banner on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln declaring "Mission Accomplished" in 2003 in the early days of the Iraqi war. The term was first used in World War Two, specifically the title of a short propaganda film showcasing the merits of the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.

That is what the compilation of an annual resource guide, such as this you are reading, is like. Despite closing dates, cut off dates, drop dead dates and other dates that announce that we have to "complete" and "finish" the guide, we are never finished. Work on EP's Annual Resource Guide begins the day after the last guide is put to bed. Our commitment to our readers, to provide the most reliable and trusted compendium of resources for the special needs community begins with the realization that we will never "finish" or never "complete" the work.

We wouldn't want it any other way.  Read the full article

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