How Speech Therapy is Like the Redwoods

Visiting the Redwoods

About once a year, I visit the Redwoods. I drink delicious coffee, I strap on my backpack and hike, have a picnic lunch, and hike some more. By the end of the day, I finish my hike with aching feet and a happy heart.

I love the Redwoods. I love the light filtered through the trees. I love the sound of the trees creaking in the breeze. I love the quiet. I love the variety of trees, plants, trilliums, and burls I see along the way. The Redwoods is my place, and every year I’m ready for it.

But, what if I wasn’t ready?

Are You Ready?

Last year, in the parking lot of my favorite Redwoods hiking spot, I met a man from Texas and his adult son. They had rented a car and were hitting all the national parks in one summer.

“I don’t mean to be rude,” he said to me, in a slight southern drawl. “But, I’ve been to a lot of national parks, and this one just doesn’t impress me.”

Of course, I had to ask. What hikes did he go on? Did he picnic in the park? Did he notice the varied-colored trilliums which were in full bloom? What about the burls on the redwood trees, which tend to take on shapes if you stare at them long enough?

It’s not that kind of trip, he told me. When he visited a park, he would park his car, walk a quarter mile or less, take a picture or two, and then drive to the next park (or to his hotel). He had to get to all the parks this summer, he explained.

On the surface, I had many things in common with this man. I frequent national parks and typically enjoy seeing them. I enjoy travel. Even so, we had two totally different experiences of the same park. How?

Change Takes Work

At the time, I was confused. Once I had time to process, I decided he wasn’t ready for the Redwoods.

Sometimes – depending on the situation – I’m happy to take the quarter mile hike for the photo experience. There are times when that is all time permits, or I have a different journey to go on next. The most important thing is to know what kind of experience you are looking for and to realize that experience may take more effort. Even so, I still believe sometimes you have to take the long hike.

Think of something you’ve really worked for, appreciated, or built. Immediately, my own business came to mind. In order to experience my business, I have a plan when I set out. But, I have to be willing to adjust that plan and stick with that plan in order to see any real results. In the case of my hike, I needed to stay on that trail for quite awhile before I was really able to see what the forest had to offer.

Speech Therapy: The Journey

This brings me to another commitment: speech therapy. Like the forest hike, when you commit to speech therapy, you can’t just walk a quarter mile and take a picture. In order to see improvement in speech therapy, you have to go on the long hike. You may wonder if you are making progress. You may have setbacks. But, the results are in store for those who stay consistent and stay the course. There are rewards to be had, but you need to be consistent in order to gain them.

I’ve worked with families who haven’t been able to consistently attend speech therapy. I have worked with famililies who have gotten overwhelmed and have quit. When this happens, I remind myself: they are in for a different kind of hike. I understand why they leave, but still I hope they will return when they are ready.

Remember if you aren’t ready for speech therapy, you can give yourself grace. But, please. Consider the hike. Because if you stick with it, there are so many rewards waiting for you on the trail.


I hope this post has given you some time to reflect about your family’s journey with speech therapy. If you are feeling ready to take the speech therapy leap, please visit my contact page to reach out.

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