This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 13, 11, 9, 5, and 2.
I have several special needs kids. Not because I’m some hero, but because I wanted to adopt an unwanted child. Only, we are always paying for the choices of others. I pay daily for the fact my son’s birth mother was a Meth addict. My son pays a higher price than I do. Sometimes, my husband pays the price for when my Dad is mean to me, and I take it out on him. Why do we make other people pay the price for our choices?
Councilor’s offices are filled with people wondering how to work through other people’s choices that affect them. I was in counseling for my son, and these questions came up: “How do you make it through a hard day? How do you keep homeschooling when your kid won’t learn? How do you keep moving forward when you realize you hate your life?”
The other day I took Zach grocery shopping with me. The lights and people set him off. In typical Zach fashion he began running the aisles, narrowly avoiding people. The gasps and muttered comments began, but I’m so used to them I hardly ever notice them. I use to correct Zach, and try to make him behave.
Then, I realized he really couldn’t behave. He wasn’t trying to be naughty and every time I got onto him, I actually made him feel worse, and he began seeing himself in a bad light. So I, being the adult, sucked it up and learned to ignore strangers. My son’s self-esteem is worth more than a moment of embarrassment for me.
We moved into the freezer section. Zach started on one end of the Freezer doors, and holding onto the handles swinging himself to the next. Every time he encountered a person he jumped down out of their way and resumed his monkey swing. Eventually I was done, and as we were walking out Zach looked up at me and said, “I was a good boy today, wasn’t I?”
This was news to me. So I said, “Yes, how were you good?”
“Because I didn’t run into anyone, like you taught me.”
It is this moment that I will use to encourage me to get out of bed tomorrow. When Andy asks how the day was, I will remember Zach trying so hard to be good, and I will say the day was fine. And tomorrow, I will find another moment for encouragement.