Sometimes we complain about what life brings to us:”My child is too noisy” complains a Mother,
“City people don’t care for community” sighs the taxi driver.
“They don’t understand my child,” cries a parent with a special needs child.
I have learned that instead of asking people around me to change, I can BE who I want community to be.
When my special needs daughter, Amor, is at the playground, she could look like a spoiled, irritable child who does not know how to borrow toys, cannot take “no” for an answer and flings toys around or hits just to irritate other children.
I don’t try to change my daughter, because I know that if wasn’t for her sensory processing issues, she would be the sweetest, kindest princess. Instead, I BE who I hope my daughter would want to follow by example.
Amor shouts at other kids to get out of “her” swings…yes, all 4 swings at the playground belongs to her, she says. I tell her in a calm but eager voice, “Hey Amor, let’s practice asking with a soft voice.” She usually puts down her sensory defences and tries her very best to ask the kids to get off and even ends her sentence with a “please.” I congratulate her for her fantastic effort to overpower her sensory issues! I then ask her to take her flexibility to the next level and suggest, “Hey, when the kids say ‘no’, it’s ok right?” She happily nodes and runs off without bothering the kids on the swing.
Amor could easily be bullied or be the bully at the playground. But I’m there to support her, BEING what I hope she would want to be.
In time I’m realising that I’m making friends with other parents and helpers at the playground and they too are being super supportive and understanding towards Amor and modelling the kind of support needed from their kids. Now I have a community around me, helping me the way I would want to be helped. There is nothing to complain about but everything to be grateful for!
This all started with empowering myself to BE the community I want for my kids, and not just to complain and hope things will change for me.
In the photo is Amor at the playground, enjoying the squeaking sound that the swing makes as she tosses it in all directions.