Tuesday October 10, 2006

I promise, I really do, not to dwell forever on children with special needs.  But as I claim in my blog title, as well as in my side bar, I’m going to blog about bits and pieces of my day – the good, the bad and the not-so-pretty.  Right now, the bits and pieces of my days are consumed with looking for ways to help my seven year old son.

As anyone knows who is a parent, there are times when, for one reason or  another, one child seems to be on the front lines of our parenting.  In my years as a mom, I can give examples of times when each of my four children, at one time or another, have required more than their fair share of my time as a parent.  There have been weeks, over the course of the last couple of years, that have been involved in prayer, research, prayer, doctor’s appointments, prayer, observation and more research (did I mention I prayed a lot?) working on how to best help my seven year old son.

However, the time spent is not the issue here.  The thing I want to share with you today is how the Lord has used this experience with my precious son to not only humble me, but also to check my judgmental spirit.

I was a woman who, when viewing another mom struggling with a child, would smugly think to herself, “All that child needs is some discipline.”  Oh, I cringe even now thinking back on that!

I know now what it feels like to hear that from others.  I know what it’s like to have the Wal Mart lady stop in her tracks and watch, with contempt on her face, as you help your child extricate himself from the four inch tall bottom rack of the shopping cart.  It only took him two seconds to get in there while you were putting the mascara in the cart,  but it takes MUCH l-o-n-g-e-r to get him back out.

Lately I’ve heard, “Oh, he’s just your youngest so he’s spoiled.”, and, “He’s the youngest so he gets away with more.”  Truth be told, my youngest child has received plenty of biblical discipline.  In many, many ways, we’ve been tougher on him.  I do want to hear others child training tips that have worked for them with their kids; but I hope they understand that I probably know those same tips, and have used them successfully with my three older children.  The deal is, they just don’t work the same with a child whose brain functions differently.

I miss my son.  He was the boy who was always smiling, who was always full of mirth and merriment, and who was so affectionate that we came up with the term “drive-by lovin’s” to describe the way he’d breeze past us, backtrack to give us a tight hug, and then move right back along.  Oh, it was precious!!  I don’t see that little boy often anymore.  He began disappearing when he was three or four.  I see glimpses of him; but, for the most part, that joyful little boy is gone.  In his place I have a child prone to emotional swings, “meltdowns”, a boy who is frequently found wandering aimlessly, and a boy who cannot be still.  Nope, he really can NOT.  He even moves constantly in his sleep!

I don’t know how to parent this boy.  I don’t have the strength, the wisdom or the skills.  But I don’t need them.  Much as I love my son, God loves him infinitely more.  That’s almost unfathomable to me.  I love him so much, and yet God loves him even more.  So much that he sent His only son to die on the cross for my son!  God knit my seven year old together in my womb, knowing full well the child He was creating there.  I don’t need strength, wisdom or skills of my own.  They’d be useless even if I had them.  I need the strength that comes from faith in the Lord.  I need the wisdom that comes only from time spent in prayer and reading the Word.  I need the skills that the Lord has already blessed me with, in His omniscience, to help my seven year old grow up to be a godly Christian man, husband and father.

I am so humbled by this.  I am humbled by my constant need for God’s help in all of this, and I am humbled that He would think me capable of raising this boy.  I am even humbled that He blessed me with this boy so late in life.

I have also learned not to judge other parents.  I am ashamed of my former “know-it-all” parenting attitude.  I have learned, instead, to pray when I see a mom, or dad, struggling with a child in public (though I confess to being less compassionate with parents who are behaving badly!).

I have learned to smile at the child who HAS to touch every other hanger on the rack, and HAS to go back if they miss one.  Yes, they really do HAVE to do it.  When our pediatrician asked our son what it felt like to not do something he had to do, he grimaced and made a very painful expression, and shuddered at the very thought.

I have learned to give a cheery “hi”, to a child whose physical tics seem to be controlling him.  Did you know that also encourages the mom, who realizes, of course, that everyone is staring at her child?

Oh, I know there are kids out there who are just rebellious and/or disobedient. It doesn’t hurt for me to pray for those struggling families, too.  Besides, I don’t know when I see them if their struggles are in child training or if their struggles are with a child with a diagnosed medical condition.  You can’t tell by looking.  Only God can see into the heart.

Please don’t read this post and think it’s a whining sob story.  It’s not.  While I do appreciate your prayers, always, this is also not a prayer request.  If you are led to pray, pray for all the parents of children with all sorts of special needs, whether their needs are physical, mental, or a mixture of both.  Pray for your attitude the next time you encounter a child whose behavior is not quite up to snuff.  Give thanks to God for your normal child.

The Lord has not only blessed me with a special son, but he has also blessed me, through Corin, with a special three year old grandson. These two boys can make me smile, can warm my heart, and can bring tears of joy to me quicker than anything I’ve ever experienced before.  My heart is so full of love for them!

With God’s help, as I yield my pride at being an “experienced mom”, and humble myself before Him, I will discover ways to help my son.  Nutritionally.
Educationally.  Medically, perhaps.  Only time will tell how reaching maturity will affect my son’s Tourette’s Syndrome, OCD, ADHD and other traits.  The symptoms may be lessened in adolescence, or they may become much worse.  They could go away in puberty, only to recur in adulthood.  Or God could relieve him of these things entirely.  Only God knows.  I trust Him with my whole heart in this, and know that He has given me this boy knowing how I would work to find the best ways to raise Him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your households today.
Proverbs 31:27

Oh, and kiss your kids, too!

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12 comments to Tuesday October 10, 2006

  • Dear Mrs. Copper, thank you for sharing from your heart. I do not have the challenges that you have will not even begine to pretend I could understand. But I will try to remember your words and have more grace for those around me. Blessing Clarice 

  • My heart and eyes are overflowing reading this post.  Sometimes the challenge seems huge, doesn’t it?  But the Lord is there to give us more of Himself as we seek to raise these precious ones for His honor and glory.

    Blessings to you!

    Mrs C

  • :love: Boy oh boy do I love that boy! 😉

  • Thanks for sharing that Mrs Copper 🙂  That reminds me of an occassion in my life a few years ago.  I was shopping and there was a man pushing his boy around in a stroller. This child had hydrocephaly.  My children were curious and staring. I caught the little boys eye and smiled and waved. His dad noticed and said hello to me. I simply told him my children were curious about his son(but not in a freak show kind of way!!!). We asked questions and learned this was a single dad solely taking care of his son. His wife left right after he was born(he was about 4 when we met). Dad shared his struggles. He said he hated most of all when people pointed and stared. He thanked me for just coming up to him, saying hello and asking questions. My heart really hurt for this dad. Not because he was blessed with such a son but because he seemed so very alone and lonely. Say hi, give a smile and kind word. Brighten the corner where you are :sunny:


  • My son had ADHD.  It can be quite a challenge.  Our decision was to go ahead and use some medication.  But let me tell you, that doesn’t keep the comments and judgements from coming from other people.  We actually get alot of flack within the Christian community because we do choose medication.  Like we are somehow not taking care of him in the way we should.  My son is like you descibed yours, very affectionate and happy.  But without his medication, he is just soo angry.  All the time for all things.  He can’t bear to live that way and I can’t bear it for him.  But even meds cannot take away alot of things.  He has a little bald spot on his head right now because he keeps picking at his hair.  His energy level is enviable.  Oh, and what about not being able to be quiet when told until his ENTIRE thought/comment is out.  Simply can’t do it.  Oh yes, he went to kindergaten in ps and I was told he was defiant.  Oh dear.  They just don’t understand.  We all have to make our decisions for our children in the way we see fit.  But it doesn’t seem to matter which road we choose, there will always be those who want to criticize and tell us we should be doing things the other way.  I understand how you feel.  Bless.

  • Ok ~~~ I meant to say in that first sentence that he HAS adhd.  Not had.  oops ~ sorry.  🙂

  • Thanks for all the nice comments ladies. 

    Stampinlady – I had to smile as I read some of your comments about your son, they sound all too familiar!  I’m glad that your son is finding relief through medication.  I agree with your comment that we can be criticized whatever we choose to do for our children.  I figure, God put my son in this family because He knew we’d do what was best for him.  Same with your son in your family.  God’s omniscience is mind boggling, to me.  We can remember to uphold one another in prayer, as well as other moms with special kids, on the days we have rough days. 

  • Renee – I’m so glad you took the time to wave to the child and chat with that dad.  He probably is very lonely, and I’m sure you made his day.  I chatted with a gentleman in line at Wal Mart one day who obviously had Tourette’s.  I didn’t mention it, of course, but I also maintained eye contact with him during our brief conversation and didn’t let his tics distract me.  Everyone else who saw him was staring and I didn’t think his tics were all that bad, either! 

  • I LOVED this post!  Especially about people staring and judging.  As you know my daughter has moderate mental redartion and other stuff.  You can’t tell just by looking at her that she is disabled but as soon as she opens her mouth people look at her weird.  I have learned to have tunnel vision in stores so I don’t notice it as much anymore but I still deal with judgmental check out clerks all the time. She is so friendly and loves to talk with people but most cannot understand what she says.  I actually had a clerk one time tell her I can’t talk to you because I am working so will you please stop talking to me.  I was mad at first but then I was saddened  for this lady will never experience the joy of a chat with my daughter and she is the only one who is missing out.  It feels my heart with joy when people ask questions and want to know more.  I have had few encounters like that in public (where people want to know) but I can remember them vividly because they meant so much me.  Thank you,. Copperswife, for poinitng these points out and I will pray for you as you learn more about your son.  I truly know how frustrating that can be sometimes.


  • Howiesgal – Oi, the comments!  I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this with your precious girl.  Like I said, having my son has really opened my eyes to the judgmental attitudes I used to have towards kids that seemed , to me, just unruly in stores.

      Like you said, I’m really saddened for the folks who miss out on so much by not taking the time to give a special child a bit of grace.  I have a friend who has a son with Down’s Syndrome and that boy can light up the whole room with his smile!  The folks who see only his mental retardation and turn their faces away miss out on that brilliant smile.  Too bad for them, really.   

  • I have learned a long time ago not to listen to well wishers… God has given me each of my children and hand picked them for me so he must know I can handle them… Not to say I do not accept godly wisdom from others, but my spirit usually tells me if it is godly wisdom or someone that has no idea what they are talking about.  God choose this son just for you and copper and He knows full well that you can train him and raise him up to be a Godly young man for His kingdom.  If we give up on our very own children (I am not implying you would do this) then who will be there for them?