Random thoughts from an animal-loving French prof / mom of three on things she finds beautiful, funny, sad, or strange.

Friday, February 6, 2009

think about what you did well

I have a child who is ill.  He has RAD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, as well as some sensory processing issues.  For these kids, such issues do not have to be the end of the road, as long as the child gets the right kinds of help, including therapeutic parenting provided by loving parents. Indeed, learning to parent him has been one of the most thrilling, but also challenging and exhausting roads that I have ever traveled.  It is in part thanks to my life with him that I have learned that the hardest roads can sometimes lead to the most unexpected treasures.

Today I was teaching at the University.  I handed back two assignments in one class.  As one might expect, some students did well on both, while others did well only on one (nobody struggled with both).  Those in the second group started to get down on themselves for their lower grades.  I told them not to worry about that, since we could work on it, but instead to focus on what they did well and enjoy it.  Their response startled me : most of them could not remember a teacher telling them that before, and they liked it.  

So how do these two things fit together?  Well, parenting a child with challenges has taught me that if I dwell on the negative, we will both drown.  It's just too overwhelming.  If I focus on the positive, however, then we can both grow.  Without my son, who knows when I would have learned this lesson?  I'm just grateful that I did, and that I had the chance to pass it on.

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