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Through Their Eyes

February 23, 2012
By Maria Spencer

We all want the best for our children. We want to see them progress in the areas that they struggle in, sometimes even before they are developmentally ready for it. I'm sure you know the stress that we put on ourselves when we get in this mode. We worry about the future, we make expectations in our minds that may never come to pass, and we stress out about the unknown.

Recently, we have had some unexpected challenges with my daughter, and it has been a rough couple of months. The stress of the issues she is having has been tough on everyone-except her. While my husband and I have struggled over decisions that need to be made, and what professionals to seek guidance from, my daughter has continued to be her bright, cheerful self. In the midst of it all, a very wise woman advised me to try to begin to see the world through her eyes, instead of seeing it through mine. My prayer for all us this month is that we will start to do just that.

All of us have been exposed to a wide variety of professionals that have benefited our children-physicians, therapists, teachers, aides, etc. We are grateful for their amazing ability to apply their knowledge and experience with us. They help our kids' progress in ways that we as parents could never do alone. At the same time, I firmly believe that no one knows our kids like we do. The potential in each and every special boy or girl lies within them and we need to believe in that potential and never give up on them.

I am determined to truly believe in that potential and allow it to grow. Even though we can't control the future progress or setbacks they may have, if we start to see their world the way they see it, our eyes may be opened to a whole new perspective. Through every hospital stay, homework assignment and therapy session, let's commit to focusing on how well they adjust and cope to each and every thing that comes their way.

When we think about all the obstacles that our kids face every day, as parents, our hearts break when their disability hinders them in some way. But what I'm beginning to realize is that they don't see their limitations as a hindrance. They know it's just part of who they are. Their disability is not who they are-it's just part of who they are.

I'm sure we all can recall the many times when our child exceeded our expectations. If we choose to focus on these times, think about how many more positive, productive days we would have. I say it often -- when we focus on what they can do rather that what they can't do, everything changes for the better.

For example, my daughter recently started Tae Kwon Do classes. Because the muscles on the left side of her body are very tight and her balanced is compromised, I was initially fearful that she would become frustrated with her attempts to keep up with her peers.

Well, as usual, she has exceeded my expectations. She doesn't miss a beat with the other kids, she may move differently than they do, but she attempts every movement, and is determined to learn. In addition to her perseverance, the instructors push her to her potential, while being caring and empathetic at the same time. Since it has been a few months since she began, I am not as anxious about her ability to complete everything the way I expect her to. Instead, I have chosen to see how proud she is of herself, and how much fun she is having! I see the class through her eyes.

When you think about trying to see your child's view of the world the way they see it, what comes to mind? What are the things you struggle with as a parent? Do you dread social situations? Are you continually apprehensive about schoolwork? Are you worried about the next surgery or hospitalization? Whatever it is for you, know that you are not alone in the way you anticipate your child's future.

If we begin to see our day-to-day routines through our special child's eyes, the days will no longer be filled with worries and fear, but they will overflow with hope.



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