Day: November 11, 2016

How My Exceptional Child Teaches Me About Remembrance

As Michael has gotten older, his questions have gotten more sophisticated. This has made his Dad and I happy, as we have seen him grow in many ways, from how he expresses himself, to how he asks questions about difficult subjects, such as death and suffering. A few days ago we were in a shopping center and Michael wanted to buy a poppy. I had just been thinking that I would be going to get us all poppies earlier that day. We got it for him and he told me, “We wear a red poppy to remember the soldiers.” I almost started to cry.

Last year he asked me questions about the dead soldiers such as did they ever come home to their parents, did their parents see them again after they had died? With tears in my eyes I had answered him as clearly as I could, saying that they had come home to their families but that they couldn’t talk to them anymore. I explained that it was like his great grandparents who were in heaven and we spoke about them, told stories and looked at pictures, but they were not physically with us anymore. We talked about them. He seemed satisfied with this message, and as he gets older I know I will have to fine tune my answer. Kids who are exceptional, especially those with autism, have very concrete kinds of brains that want to know exactly how things unfold. I know this discussion is not over yet, and I am happy about that.

As hard as it is that spirituality and religion are challenging for Michael lately, I am glad to see him asking all sorts of questions; about God, life, death and everything in between. The other day I even heard him say, “sometimes I pray to God Mommy. It depends.” I know he is sorting it all out and I hope, as in other areas, to be his guide in figuring it all out. I also know that all children struggle to figure out their place in the world, their relationship to other human beings and living things, and to make sense of it all. I am filled with admiration for Exceptional Children who have additional challenges to battle, yet still are able to confront the questions we all do.

Exceptional Parents, how do talk to your Exceptional Children about remembering and Remembrance or Veterans Day if you do? Are your children able to comprehend it? Even those who are not able to fully, will have some sense of your grief about loss, sacrifice and your happiness about the freedoms won for the rest of us. Don’t push them and don’t discount their questions. Just be there to guide them and light the path ahead when they ask questions. And, as always, trust your own parenting instinct. You know them best. Until next time.

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