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Giving Thanks

on November 27, 2013
Flickr friends

Flickr friends (Photo credit: Meer)

As I hover around a warm kitchen preparing the annual feast to shared with family and friends, I reflect upon the year. It hasn’t been one without trials and sadness. It hasn’t been without challenges and disappointments. Through it all one thing has risen to the top, friendships. More than any other year I have valued having friends. We may not have agreed but what we did was to exchange ideas and act as sounding boards through the trials and frustrations. When one mind was not enough they rose to the creative challenge to take on moments to find  solutions. They were also there for some incredibly fun and unbelievable miracle moments as well.

Many parents worry about their challenged kids not having friends. I hear this a lot. Not only is school for academics it is also a learning ground for developing social skills. Sometimes we as parents try to control the types of friends out kids have only to see we are actually running them towards  the very ones that scare us the most. Fostering friendships as adults, our children can learn is probably the most important way for them to learn. Let me note that if you hang out with drinking buddies and do questionable things do not be surprised if your kids do. They do model what they see. If you have no friends and live as a recluse, then know they are not seeing you model how to develop relationships with others. Many times if you try to exclude them from the world they will find a fast track to get as much life experience in as they can at once. It does have a tendency to backfire.

If you are an introvert, discuss your life style with your children. They need to understand it is by choice you do things alone, not because you are “weird.” Sometimes we introverts get some negative labels. We can change by explaining how we work. I have noticed a lot of “How to live with an Introvert” things on Facebook and Pinterest.  Kids are far more perceptive than we give them credit. Discuss the various social types so they will not be so judgmental or be swayed by school stereotyping. It takes Geeks, Freaks, Jocks, Nerds, and assorted others to make this world function. It is far better to know folks by introverts and extroverts. Of course there are other more positive labels. I do not mind being called artsy because now I accept it as a compliment. I relish the title which allows me to dress a bit funky from time to time and get away with paint on me without folks thinking negative. All the negative  changed when I embraced my gifts instead of hiding them. I have noticed when students accept their uniqueness their social lives become more positive.

Let’s give thanks to all sorts of folks who have made our lives better because they chose to be unique. They rose above the negative stereotype taunting to live their dreams.  To all the kids still discovering their talents, growing from their awkward growth spurts and into their own selves, lets help make the process less troublesome. Support them and encourage them instead of trying to rework them into something we feel they should be. We all hated when our parents tried to make us be something we were not. We also admired our friends parents who fostered dreams and allowed some growing room for discovery. We all learn from mistakes. They makes us stronger and gives life lessons. If you grow up in a shielded bubble, reality will bite hard.  Everyone needs a daily dose of reality even as young as a year old. We also need to learn the best protection in life is a good circle of friends when reality bits. Let them explore the world and those around them. Let them have a variety of friends.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! And I am very thankful for all of you who visit my blog.


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