Thursday, March 9, 2017

The End of the World

My daughter came home from school today, and she seemed fine.  She had me fooled in fact.  Pretty good for a seven year old.

Then, a little later we found out that something was wrong.  She was in tears in her room and didn't want to talk about it.  It seems she did something wrong in school and didn't want to tell us.  This upset me.....not because she did something wrong....but because she was afraid to talk to us about it.  I try to tell her she can always come to us, but she isn't getting that message.  It's important that she knows that, and falls back on that.  

I asked her to come out of her playroom and sit with me and talk.  By her reluctance I figured she must have stolen a car.  Maybe it was the principal's car.  Maybe she took it and rammed it into a police car.  She came into the room and sat about 10 feet from me.  She didn't want to talk.  She already had the blindfold over her eyes, and cigarette dangling from her lips, awaiting the order from the firing squad.  Apparently whatever it was, it was the end of the world.

I sat her on my lap and assured her that we love her no matter what.  Whatever she did wrong, we would try to understand and help her fix it.  Then she spilled the beans....she had gotten her usual "green" color status (which measures the kids' behavior), moved to yellow. Yellow means you had to be warned to follow the rules.  It was her first move to yellow all year and she was devastated.  She felt her reputation was ruined and she would have to live her life beneath an underpass.  Actually, she had imagined we would be terribly angry and disappointed, and she worried over this the rest of the day.  She was quite relieved to find out that the world wasn't ending, and that we weren't going to make her walk the plank.

After she ran back out to play, happy to be pardoned, I realized that she shares this ugly trait with me.  I can so often make the anxiety leading up to something happening much worse that the happening itself.  Dreading the mighty "what if" monster is usually much scarier than the monster itself.

The advice I gave her is so applicable to our adult lives, and very applicable to special needs parenting.  We have nothing to fear but fear itself.  The sooner we face those fears, and "what ifs", and monsters, and even the firing squad we might be conjuring up, the sooner we can move on and give our brains a break.  We think much better dealing with actual problems then perceived ones.

Be well and God bless.    Tom

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