I received this email last week and it articulated something I’ve heard countless times and in countless ways. Here’s a quote from it:
“My ex was a total asshole to my Aspie and it’s infuriating that he can’t understand his own son, nor does he want to. There’s “that” as part of this journey… fighting against educators, the “public” when we go places, and our own freaking spouses and families… Grrrrrrrr. My child’s soul got hurt.
Ok, on a positive note, my son called me after it happened and they’ll be home today and we’ll talk it through. And that is a gift I can give him. :)”
Wow, those last 5 words of the first paragraph are especially heavy to me. Yeah, this isn’t your typical post. It’s real, it’s about messy stuff, it’s ugly. We deal with REAL issues and problems that affect our kids deeply. It’s also about solutions. A big gift in the above situation: She can hold a safe space for her son… HE (the son) called HER (the mom). THAT’S HUGE.
I definitely can’t pretend to be positive all the time. A lot of what’s going on for our kids sucks. Parents call me in crisis, I hear the stories. There is real dysfunction; in family systems, school systems, community systems, employment systems. It’s real, the consequences are real and we can’t hide from it and expect someone else to step up and fix it. We all need to step up as much as we can.
The reason I do what I do is because it’s important to me on a gut level. It pains me to know how children suffer needlessly and I want to see it change, so I do what I can. It’s only through real dialogue that we can come to meaningful solutions.
Of course there are change makers, proactive people, people doing great things, healers. Of course there are countless people who have courageously stood up to injustice and made a difference. And I’m certain that if you are still reading this, you’re part of the solutions.
Anyhow, I certainly don’t have all the answers. I have ideas, but that’s about it. For example, I think fear is the main culprit, that it is a corrosive force that underlies all dysfunction. I think that it’s scary for us adults to feel our feelings, and this has tremendous consequences. I think that we are pretty checked out as a society, that we have opportunities to hide and avoid healthy vulnerability at every turn. I think that prevents us from having deep connections which make life full and rich and meaningful.
I know that I’ve done so much work on myself over the years that I don’t know what I’d do without it. You probably have done a bunch of your own deep inner-work as well. We ALL have baggage and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Yet our culture tells us it’s not ok to talk about. Keep your mouth shut. Don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Forget about it and it will go away.
There’s this saying,
“Don’t compare your insides to other’s outsides.”
We may look at people on the outside, and everything looks great. We can compare too much sometimes. Again, we ALL have stuff. I have so many parents and kids open up to me as they get to know me. I hear so many stories of suffering… and stories of triumph.
But time after time my heart hurts because so much of the pain is unnecessary. It’s 2014, we have tools to work with fear, emotion, clarity, yet our approach to education is archaic and ruled by quantitive data. We misappropriate so much value on this data, these scores, that we miss that point. The point is quality of life, and our metrics simply don’t cut it. We often do a horrible job of addressing emotional needs, social needs, physical well-being, inspiration, creativity, curiosity.
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” -William Bruce Cameron
What counts for YOUR children? What do you really want for them?
Shame and silence hold us back. Our stories need to be told so we can support each other and help our kids have the lives and opportunities they deserve.
Some tragic stories make the news-these are so important. But we hear about these when it’s too late. We need to share our stories now, support each other now, live in the solution now.
So tell me dear reader, what’s real for you? What’s your story? What do you need in order to help yourself and your children live as fully as they deserve to?
ps-yes, the person quoted above gave her permission for me to use her words. If you’d like to share your story, I will hold that space for you any way you want. You can write directly to me privately, post a comment at the bottom to share with the community, ask me to share your story anonymously, etc..