Some days it feels like being a parent requires me to be a general education specialist, a special education expert, a psychologist, a neurologist and neuroscientist, a geneticist, an education law specialist, a diplomat, and a hunting dog all at the same time. It is exhausting. But it’s what you do. Will there be a time when I’m not going to advocate for my children and others like them? When I’m dead maybe.
My kids want to go to college. That means it’s my job to make sure everyone does their job to give my children that opportunity. Sometimes that means holding my children to a higher standard than others have for them. Sometimes that means cutting them some slack. It’s a delicate balance that requires knowing the child in question and what best motivates them.
Mostly it requires being present and aware of my child and their needs. It means setting in my mind that they can achieve their goals and working alongside them to make sure it happens. I fall into bed exhausted every night. My children do as well. We all work hard fighting for our futures. It is so worth the battle.
While I’m doing all that I also get to do the regular parent stuff. The nurturing, the loving, the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the teaching of life skills and how to be a decent human being. I need a nap.
April rolls around every year and every year for autistic folks, their families, and friends we become the center of a media frenzy. Some welcome this some not so much. Lost in the hubbub though is the fact that life is precious and beautiful especially when me make conscious decisions to make it so for our autistic selves, family, and friends.
Mark your calendar for this Friday, December 16, 2016, 9:00am PT (12:00pm ET). I'll be a guest speaker for the free monthly Nurtured Heart Approach podcast. This month's topic is The New Year: Replacing Resolutions with Intentions. The podcast is a great resource for learning about NHA.
I offer this as a word of encouragement to anyone who needs. Particularly those of us caring for special needs children. Failure is a necessary part of learning. You aren't going to make the right choice every single time. No one can. Accept that fact.
Some people keep souvenirs of their failures to remind themselves that life is too hard to even try to be successful. They use these souvenirs as evidence to justify their belief in the lie that they should not even try. Don't collect souvenirs of failures. Don't hang them around your neck like millstones to drag you down. Instead lay your failures before like stepping stones. Learn from your mistakes and use them to build yourself a path to where you want to go in life. Choose to build a path for yourself to great places.
Teaching children how to handle failure is a vital life lesson. It is a lesson that children will learn as much from what is said as from what is done. Modeling for them how to learn from failure sets the stage for building a life of success. None of us who now walk would ever have learned to do so if the first time we fell down we stayed down and refused to get back up.
There will be lots of failures in your life. Each and every one of them will be an opportunity to start over and strive for success and mastery in life. So what are you going to do with your failures? Will you collect them as souvenirs or will you build a path to greatness?