It’s so important to try new things, things we have never done before. It’s important to take risks. Most of the time things work out, and if they don’t, it’s an experience. We learn from all experiences, good and bad. This is something I know deep down inside, but until Michael was born I did not like to try new things. Correction: I pretty much avoided them. I was scared. Scared of failure, scared of looking silly, scared of finding out things about myself that maybe I didn’t want to know. And why didn’t I want to know them? It was easier to stay safe and stuck, living the way others thought I should live, and me believing that was my destiny.
Fast forward to motherhood. I realized I was living a lie if I continued to live this way. I needed to teach my child to take risks, try new things, meet new people or where would he get in the world? He would get nowhere fast, that was for sure. This became even more apparent when I realized he had autism and his brain worked differently. He would have to try A LOT of different things in a new way. He would encounter lots of people, people who would try and change who he was, and people who would love him the way he was and only want to make him his best self. It took over thirty to learn this and painfully at times. I didn’t want my little guy to go through that. As in every other way, he changed me here too, forcing me to finally say enough is enough. I need to embrace change, feel the fear and go for it anyway.
One of my fears is being in a group of women where there are three of us. Why, you ask? You see, when I really little, I had two good friends that I introduced to one another. In the tradition of ten year old girls, they one day decided they didn’t want to play with me and excluded me for a few days from their games. I was a sensitive child, to say the least. This hurt me then, but I didn’t realize how I carried that mistrust of women into my adulthood. It took me a long time to see why I get nervous when there are new people, three people particularly. It happened last week when I went to a spa with a friend and she asked if she could bring another friend along, but I agreed to go on the outing. And you know what, it was fun. I was not excluded. I met another really interesting person that I hope to see again. Other incidents like this bring me back to my childhood, and times where I had a bad experience that I unfortunately replayed over and over. If something like this happens to your child though, remember, you can help them take ownership. You can show them that this won’t happen again. Particularly Exceptional Children who have autism replay the incident over and over and it is extra painful. As a parent though, you can model moving forward, show them how it’s done, and that they will be stronger for it.
Exceptional Parents, how are you showing your Exceptional Child to embrace change? How are you modeling this in your life? I saw an excellent commercial that talks about how we as parents are mirrors for our children. Mirror to them taking risks, pushing past their fears. By doing that they will prove detractors wrong, but more importantly, prove to themselves their strength, worth, and talent. Until next time.