Saturday, October 25, 2014

Feeling Stuck

Like a kite caught in a tree.
No longer free to fly.
But trapped.

Repetition with Daniel can be the same instructions repeated over and over again to help him complete simple tasks. And it can also be his own repetition. Of a word or phrase that becomes babbling. Of a question that gets asked over and over throughout the day. “Whose turn is it to wash dishes?” “How come CJ hasn’t been here in a long time?” “How much longer until my birthday?” And it can get tiring. And I can feel trapped. Stuck in the repetition that never seems to end.

Last week an American doctor friend stopped by to see how Daniel was doing. He asked us questions about his cognitive development, and Charly and I shared our frustration with knowing how best to teach him at home. It’s hard when he doesn’t seem to be making any progress. And even harder when there seems to be regression. If he can’t get the basics down, then how can he move on to study anything harder? Is he going to be stuck on problems like 8-5=3 for the rest of his life?

We shared how he often gets stuck on the wrong answer. We tell him that it’s wrong, but he says the same wrong answer again. And again. He just can’t seem to get the wrong answer out of his head. And that’s frustrating. And a challenge to be patient and not give up on him. How can we give him just the right amount of pushing to help him make progress? What is he capable of? What is realistic?

The doctor told us a lot has to do with our expectations. And that’s so true. He said we’ve taught our other kids at home, but we’ve never dealt with learning difficulties like this. And that’s so true too. And just hearing him say that was helpful. He didn’t offer any solutions. Just a desire to listen and to agree with us that it's not an easy situation.

I’ve realized that I need to take a step back sometimes, especially when I’m feeling frustrated, and not focus on schoolwork so much. Daniel’s character development is actually a lot more important than what grade level he is able to reach. How can I help him develop life skills and his own relationship with God that will last a lifetime? How can I give him a solid confidence that he is loved and treasured regardless of his performance? 

We don't have to stay in those stuck places.

I’ve had a song in my head recently called “I am Free.” And I want those words to be true of my life. In the midst of endless repetition, I can still be free.

Free to run.
Free to dance.
Free to live for You.
I am free. 

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