As I write this, my older daughter, Allison, is preparing to teach her first college course in behavior. She’s had years under her belt as a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst), and countless observation hours as a sibling. I have no doubt she will have valuable lessons to share with her students. I’m grateful for passionate teachers, and I’m especially proud of this one.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born of one’s youth.” Psalm 127: 3, 4
When it comes to Allison’s sister, Morgan, I wonder who’s teaching who. I am forever learning. I’m learning not to compare her to anyone else, because it’s a precious waste of time and mental energy. I’m learning not to limit her to what I know she can do now. I’m looking at the rest as “things she can’t do yet”. Together, we are working on our personal bests. As I continue to challenge her, I’m learning she is very skilled at challenging me.
There is a line I struggle to define all the time; What behaviors are due to her disability, and what behaviors are within her ability to correct. And That Line is Drawn in Shifting Sands, because Every New Person, Place, or Thing can change the equation.
Lines get blurred and meltdowns happen. When Morgan is coming back down from a meltdown, she will often say “I was just trying to fix it”. Me too, Morgan. Me too. When I see her stressing and I don’t see the reason, I’ve learned to ask, “What are you trying to fix?”. Using her language helps her find her words.
For Morgan’s sake, for her independence and quality of life, we have to keep pushing that line. We have to continue to do the hard things until they become the no big deal things. When we come to an impasse, I remind her (and myself) to take a deep breath. I remind her that I love her, and we can always try again. Each time we succeed, it’s worth all the lessons we’ve both learned.
Back to Allison. It was clear from the beginning that she was going to keep me on my toes. I can still see her at four years old, with her hands on her hips, explaining her point of view. We definitely bumped heads and hearts along the way. Despite my first time parent blunders, she’s become a pretty amazing young woman.
And all this time I thought I was their teacher. Turns out, they are mine.
Until Next Time,
Know The Hope!
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