Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A lesson I am still learning...

...to think before I speak, and most of the time, don't speak! But even for those of you who don't have foot-in-mouth-itis like me, even our thoughts are often mistaken or unjust. How many of us have thought, when we hear a kid screaming in a public place, "Discipline your kid, would you?!" or something to that effect? That used to be my knee-jerk reaction, until the Lord gave me two friends whose kids are either on the autism spectrum or have similar difficulties. It has been a wake-up call for me, not only to adjust my ungracious attitude, but I have also learned that not only do the moms of kids with difficulties not need rude looks or "helpful" comments, but they are usually exhausted and frustrated and feeling deeply the (obvious) disparagement from most of the people around them...and they could use a little encouragement and friendliness. This has been a very humbling but very valuable lesson for me to learn. My friend Heather recently shared an experience she had at a store and she gave me permission to re-post it here on my blog. I'm sharing the following excerpt in the hopes that we can all learn from it and spare another mom any more stress than she already has...a little food for thought. Heather wrote: "...I decide to get a gallon of paint for the downstairs bathroom. The man is talking to me. Joe is standing right there and decides to run. He turns the corner...I’m right behind...I turn the corner...He’s gone. I run up and down the aisles and no Joe. I was beginning to panic when another woman way down says..."I found him!" So I get him back to the paint counter, and Joe then begins to roll on the floor. He really likes shiny floors. So [he] is rolling and I let him. It’s better then trying to restrain him and him be screaming or have him running off. The man at the paint counter says, "How old is he? He should be learning to behave by now." So I say, "Well...Believe me...I wish I could get him to understand me to get him to behave. He’s 2 1/2, non-verbal, epileptic, has 4 heart tumers, too many brain tumors to count and we are waiting for him to be tested for autism, but yea...it would be nice if he would behave...believe me...I’m exhausted."

5 comments:

Jess said...

Having been on both sides of the spectrum. (Both the observer and the parent of the misbehaving child) I try to keep in mind what it feels like to be on the other side. I think we all at one point have wanted to say,"Are you going to spank him-her or should I?" A good lesson to be learned from this, until you're in that persons shoes, you shouldn't judge. Nice post Marsel, thank your friend for sharing.

Elissa Brown said...

It definitely changes your perspective to think in that way. Thank you for your post.

Anonymous said...

It certainly does take an extra measure of grace to understand and deal with the disabled. I can certainly attest to that, not as a mom, but as a counselor who works with the disabled. This is an excellent example, thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Oops, forgot my name-
Sarah Brock

Jeanette said...

That was very well put. I find myself at times approaching the other mom to see if there is anything I can do to help. Usually, not but that understanding goes along way to the other parent. Having been in many similiar situations as your friend, I have not received any negative responses. Thankfully, they just tell me he is cute and he is just being a kid. (Jonathan was "unofficially" diagnose with sensory integration issues...I understand the rolling on the floor!)