Monday, December 8, 2014

TIC: Imagination and Children with Special Needs

Today at The Imaginative Conservative...

Her therapists rave about her crawling and how awesome she is at “weight bearing” on her right side. And is not that what we strive for in this life— to bear the weight of glory?
“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:15-18)
“Hard” is not the standard by which we should judge our life. Easy is not a virtue as much as it can be a pathway. It is worthwhile to live out the divine love in our fallenness because love is good, love is true, love is beautiful. Love can make the road harder, and it can also make the road purposeful. Parenting in love is imagining beyond reality–not in a delusional way, but a hopeful way, a possible way.

Parents with children who have special needs (“children” should always go before the “special needs”) must see beyond the daily frustrations, past other children meeting milestones, and relish the achievements of the individual. By educating themselves on developmental trials and stages, parents are able to see a wider picture of what their child is doing, and where their child is going. Some children will not progress at the same rate as Grace, even with help. This is a different kind of trial. Some children do not have a clear diagnosis—another hurdle. Whatever the circumstances, parents must be their child’s biggest supporter. There is nothing outside therapy can achieve if parents are not in the forefront of teaching, loving, and playing with their child.

At our friends A&C's wedding (9/14)
This is not a time for theories or to bemoan your parental lot that you have to try harder; your child has to try the hardest. This is a time of action. This is the time to support other parents (and be supported), to smile at the day and love your child. Love through words, love through actions. Paralyzing fear or laziness has no place in the day of us parents whose children are fueled by that compassion and zeal.

Even when she fusses, we have learned to push Grace a little harder to see what she can do. I have learned how to stretch my daughter and how to massage her. I myself have been stretched beyond my comfort zone. I have had to overcome my own fear of not being the best thing for my daughter. But a therapist cannot encourage, love, and teach my daughter the way I can, every day. I am the one who feeds her, changes her, takes her on errands. I soothe her, sing to her, pray with her, and read to her. We smile, laugh, and have fun together. She was recently given (washable) crayons and loves to draw. She holds two or three at a time and shows them off to me.

I relish it all.

Read more here.

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