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My Daughter's Comment on a Field Trip Gave Me a Special Needs Parenting Revelation

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A few weeks ago, I was able to take a day off work to do one of my most favorite things today – chaperone a class field trip. I was with my daughter’s third grade class at a living history presentation about the daily lives of Native Americans. The educator giving the tour asked, “What was the most important tool the native people had?” My daughter raised her hand and without hesitation answered, “Hope and positivity!

The answer momentarily threw the educator off – it was a good answer, just not the physical thing he was actually asking about (by the way – the answer he was looking for was tree sap!). After I got over stifling my giggles, I stopped and thought about her answer. There is no doubt they did need a ton of hope and positivity, as well as perseverance, faith, (and tree sap) to make it through. Then my thoughts went a little deeper and I realized the most important tools I actually have in my personal parenting tool kit are… hope, positivity, perseverance and faith.

Hope for a better tomorrow for both of my kids. Positivity, along with humor, to get me through the toughest of times. Perseverance to get my son the right diagnosis to get the help he needs. Faith that even in the darkest times, God has us in his hand.

Hope, positivity, perseverance and faith have served me well so far in both parenting and life. I’d like to think my daughter’s answer is something of a reflection on what she sees in me, but I think she was probably echoing something her amazing third grade teacher said in a social studies lesson. Even so, if she has latched onto that concept at the age of 9, I feel pretty good about how she’ll fare in this world as she grows up. Being a neurotypical younger sibling to a neurodiverse older brother who also struggles with anxiety, panic and depression is hard. I spend as much time worrying about how she is fairing, as I do getting my son the care and support he needs. Hearing her unwavering conviction in the power of hope and positivity helps me know she’s going to be just fine.

It’s hard to have hope or be positive when you’re struggling under the weight of anxiety, panic and depression. It’s hard to persevere when it takes so much energy just to survive. My son faces these things every day. So I need to have enough of all of those things to get us both through the the dark days and have faith there are better days ahead.

Hope, positivity, perseverance and faith are my most important tools.  (Although I also now have a wealth of information on ways to use tree sap should the need arise!) What are your most important tools?

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: July 12, 2016
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