A friend of mine recently called me quite distressed. Her wonderful three year-old son was being evaluated for speech, sensory and possible autism spectrum related disorders. She was experiencing that kicked-in-the-gut feeling, even though she had suspected something was wrong for quite a while.
I couldn’t help blurting out, “You just got a get out of jail free card!” She pressed me for an explanation of such a strange comment, while joking with me that she didn’t know why she kept me around.
I told her that her world vision was about to change. She would no longer feel social pressure to force her child to endure situations that were intolerable to him (or for that matter, for her). She had been trying to fit her son into “normal” situations that initiated meltdowns, frustrations or simply exhaustion for him. I explained to her that she was just about to put on a fresh pair of glasses and view the those experiences in a new light.
Following the holidays she called me back and said that I had been right. After a particularly wonderful day, they had been invited over to someone’s house for a party in the evening. In the past, she would have felt obligated to attend. This time, however, she looked over at her darling son. He was happy, content and almost ready for bed. She anticipated packing him up, along with his three siblings, going outdoors and into a crowded family party and chose, without guilt or regret, to say, “No.” They had a peaceful, beautiful night and she was grateful for the ability to evaluate the situation and decide it would have been detrimental to her son.
As parents and Catechists, we too can look at 2011 with a fresh view. Do we push (even our normal) children and students into situations that are distressing to them? Have we looked around lately and evaluated the stressors that are present in their environments and removed them if at all possible? A new perspective can help in making 2011 a better, more productive and less stressed year.
May God bless you abundantly this year, Dear Reader.