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What's REALLY important here?

Updated on April 7, 2010

step back and think about it...

We are a busy society. We rush from place to place. We are always in a hurry. There is much to do on any given day. I am totally guilty of running through the days, wishing for the end of the day so I can fall back into my bed because I am truly exhausted. However, lately I have paused to think about what is truly important in this world.

A recent visit to my son's neurologist put his issues into perspective. He is what he is. He has Asperger Syndrome. People are either going to accept him or they are not. So how is that different from any other social situation in the world? It is different because the world has chosen to place a label on him. Okay then, let's think of other labels he could sport...brainiac, intellect, singer, sports trivia expert, presidential trivia expert, pizza taster, avid reader...the list could go on and on. Oh yes, teenager. Interesting ...why is it "normal" for any typical fourteen year old boy to say he hates homework and refuse to do it, or complete it in a subpar manner, but MY son who has a label has to redo the homework or have a huge conference called with the parents and counselors to find out what is "wrong" with him??? HMMMM....Are we being a bit silly here? This is something he doing that neurotypicals do, be happy for a change!

Seriously, no parent wants to pick up their child each and every day and be greeted with a report of something negative about him. Truly, do the professionals ever stop and listen to themselves? This is not their child. They are getting PAID to be with him. I am not. He is MY child, he is MY child for LIFE. I, like my son am going to turn you off if you say the same negative rubbish day after day. Sorry, but it is true. I am a licensed teacher with a Masters Degree and many years experience. I have the right to criticize other teachers. I understand, I have walked in their shoes. I have made mistakes, I made them daily, I am no saint. However, I never forgot that I was working with someone's child, someone's "gift from God". My aunt, who was my mentor teacher when I first started out once told me that and I never forgot what Aunt Maryann told me, these are the parent's gift from God, choose your words carefully when you speak to them. Wise words that I have always lived by as a teacher AND as a fellow parent.

Anxiety and depression have owned me over these past two years. Some truly awful things have happened in the life of my family. We are forever scarred. But over the past few weeks, I have been able to lift the veil of sadness that has been draped over me and walk freely in the sunshine. The misery that occurred was the responsibility of those who know not what they do. They have had numerous chances to make ammends and have chosen not to. The burden now hangs in their hearts, not ours. What is truly important? Living. We are here on this earth to live.

So back to my child, or should I go as far to say my children? Lately we have been piled high with "how tos" from their schools. All it is about is the TEST! All we ever hear about is how will the children perform on the test??? The teachers are so terrified by these tests that they are no longer allowed to impart their wisdom and life experiences to their students. Some of my best memories of school are when my teachers showed their human side and shared themselves with us. This cannot happen anymore. They work in fear. They are constantly told that numbers matter. They have to always worry that if they care too much for any one child, the world will call them a criminal of sorts because of the actions of some individuals who are few and far between but the media loves to make it seem that it runs rampant.  Never mind all of that, let's just go back to basics, teach the child what they need to know to LIVE.  Skills to take into the rest of their lives.  Parents and Educators as partners, not enemies.

So many things would be better if only....I often think: if only we had more money. If only I could work full time again, if only we could run our own business and it could be successful, if only our house wasn't so old and didn't need so much work, if only we lived where the taxes were lower, if only people in the world weren't so cruel and ignorant, if only, if only, if only...if only my son were more accepted in our world...if only there was a cure for autism and Aspergers Syndrome....if only...

What is truly important? Stop. Remember that we are only here ONCE. Yes, we should clean our homes. Yes we need to do our laundry, pay our bills, work our over time, take a few minutes for ourselves and play a video game etc. But we also need to talk a walk, listen to our children, even in we know that we have two hours of work waiting for us and we are tired, just wait and listen to the story about what happened in the playground. This is your only chance. In ten years, they will be gone. Tomorrow the sun might not be shining so brightly and you might not get to go to the beach. You might twist your ankle and be unable to take a walk next week. So much can happen between now and later. Just do it. Live. Love. Laugh. Smile. If other people do not want to join you, keep looking, you will find someone who will smile back.


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