I must repeat the most important part of this question: How are you right now?
A challenge I have found that re-occurs when I first meet a parent or caregiver is when I ask this question they tell me their child’s entire educational and medical history. I must work very hard not to cut them off. I know it’s important for many reasons to share this information. So here I am posting this blog to explain why its a challenge and why in it’s important to NOT always share a child’s history to people your child meets for the fist time.
I always talk about letting go of something that does not serve you, but this also applies to a child. When I’m meeting a 3 year old for the first time, I meet a cute munchkin who is busy doing whatever makes them happy (with no judgment from me.) I am there to meet the family and share some love, and assess how I can effectively work with that child. When I hear a long story of doctor experiences, therapy experiences, teacher experiences that have not helped that child, I visualize a sad broken human being. I know in my heart that the child is really an absolutely amazing human being. This is why I prefer meeting the child first.
All of the experiences a child has had, “good” and “bad” has brought them to exactly where they need to be. Celebrating the baby steps regardless how big they are and how old a child is, is crucial. This is why it’s never okay to speak about a child as if they were not there. Never speak of their progress or delay as if they were not in the room. They know and feel what your are saying and how your saying it. It’s rude and unacceptable. It shows them no respect.
Yes it’s important when they got diagnosed and who made it official, and it’s important what therapies did and didn’t work, but THE MOST important part the child is the fact that they are a human being and have each moment to thrive and succeed. This is when you realize that you too have opportunities each moment to thrive and succeed just by taking a fresh breath and speaking kind words about that moment or no words at all and a smile.
If you’re reading this blog, and you hear yourself telling someone the history of your child, or your own history. Here is what you can be conscious about, first asking if they want to hear his/her or your story. Next, look at their body language. Is the person looking away from you? Is their body turning away from you? Are they grinding their teeth with anxiety? Is their eye contact astray? It is uncomfortable and strange to hear a sad old cranky story that has been told numerous times. Especially a story of a child that is alive and with us. Choose a happy story where you are proud of your child, and inspire people to celebrate the small stuff!
After teaching a yoga class at a community center, I overheard two men bonding over leg problems. The non yoga man was describing how his doctor had given him the best prescription and epidural to make the pain tolerable. Non yoga guy was going on and on about different surgeries he had, how doctors had let him down, how he needed a wheelchair for the whole summer last year blah blah blah. Of course I had to get involved, “but wow look at you today, walking around fine!” My point is, everyone has a story no one’s is 100% peaceful, but if everyone only talked about only their struggles, we wouldn’t have Opera, Rob Lowe, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Temple Grandin, Michael J. Fox, and so many others who realized in each moment we have new opportunities to change our lives. I will make the point I always make, if you want your child to be successful and hopeful, then you yourself must be successful and hopeful. Speak of the good and the amazing baby steps your children make. Celebrate Life! (and your child will too..
Thank you for reading and namaste, Shane