Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To be a positive reflector

We are at the DMV to renew my license.

We have gone really early in the morning to beat the crowds.DH has come as  a "come with"

Come-withness-is one of the essential qualities of a good friend,

A come-with friend will walk with you to get a cup of coffee even though they are practically bubbling with acidity  inside owing to the three cups of coffee they just had.

This friend  will come to the restroom with you, will stand in your kitchen while you cook and will drive with you to the donut place even when they are on a diet.

At the DMV - we find our early trip has paid off and we are one of the few people there.

I am filling out the form and the man who hands out the form and a number - is bantering with me
We joke about the sillliness of forms -

He tells me how nice my picture on the old license is. I tell him that his is the reason why I have been so dreading my license expiring. ( which, vain creature that I am, is the truth)

When I come back - I whisper to DH- "I think he thinks I am cute".

When I go to submit the form  - the man's supervisor is telling him off

The man  has opened an envelope that should not be opened. Its something to do with the case of a DUI - a mum and a teenage son who stand around  looking anxious and sheepish.

The supervisor is treating the man  like a small child.The man  is crestfallen

I look away - hating being witness to another's being cut down to size

Its an act of cruelty.Especially when done in front of others

After  my form is processed, I am with the man again to get my photograph taken.

But its as though he is  a different person !

Gone is the banter. Gone are the smiles.

He has his guard up and does not want to spend a minute more with me than he has to.
I have been witness to his humiliation.

As I smile woodenly for my photograph,  I am thinking of how the warm approval of those around is so essential for us to blossom.

I have seen this same phenomenon at work - in every aspect of my life

At work without the affection and approval of their bosses - employees wither away.

Spouses shrivel with scathing partners

Friendships die

But,  then of course, my heart twists in pain for our young vulnerable  autistic children who are surrounded by people who are constantly correcting them

Implicit in so many of our actions in so many of our therapies  is the message to them

what you are doing is wrong...see this is how we do it.. look into my eyes even if you dont feel like it .. stop opening and shutting the door.. now  stop playing with those numbers - look here is what you must play with .. here is a dolly..

And on and on 

Employees can quit jobs where they are not nurtured

Spouses can leave .

As can friends

But little children?

They have no choice but to stay where they are.

As R grows and I grow as a mum, I am seeing that even more important than teaching him  all the things he  needs to know - perhaps a bigger  gift is to  give him  the atmosphere of implicit warmth and approval- so he open up and wants to learn

It does not mean not teaching him  - but teaching him  in an atmosphere of warmth, approval and expectation of great things always.

It means praising sincerely all the good  and looking for the good

It  means believing that their best days  is who they really are (and their bad days are simply, bad days )

Most of all, it means  being  the ultimate positive reflector for R.
So when R looks in my eyes, he sees the loveliest shiniest image of himself reflected back
Its why Floortime( or Sonrise or RDI) will always be my therapy of choice

My friend M  has a son- a completely independents delightful young man who once had PDD and is now doing great , as she says "without any fancy therapies"

She once said "happy kids learn.....that is the bottom line"

And I think she is right!


Becki said...

I really hate going to the DMV... my latest picture looks like I am some gang member - it's so bad!

Wow, powerful thoughts on always correcting our children. So true.. they have it constantly shoved at them that what they do is "wrong". Makes me wonder how on earth their self esteem will do when older... food for thought.

Great post as always :)

Lyndsey said...

Poor man. :( How terrible that feels. Something similar happened to me once when I was waitressing and obviously I never forgot it. So humiliating, and so indicative of the kind of person who should NOT be in charge, to be so cruel to others.

I completely agree with you! It is the other reason (that I failed to mention) why on my AI post about C's screeching, I didn't talk about trying to correct the behavior. They get enough of that, don't you think?

Bonsky said...

As always, your observations bring a smile to my face good friend.

Rachel said...


We need to share those three cups of coffee together someday...

I was thinking about something similar the other day... how one tiny act changed my outlook for the entire day, and in turn changed the responses of everyone around me.

So glad you have consciously chosen to surround your son with love as you do.

And it is absolutely correct... happy (and loved) children learn.

Thank you for brightening my day.

Sande said...

Created in His image for His enjoyment. Nothing less can be expected for our children.

To love and enjoy them AS THEY ARE now pulling out their greatness by applauding the good things we see.

Once read; Any fool can see our faults but a wise person will mine through all our dirt just to find our specks of gold.

Under our affirmation, our kids will soar.

Stephanie said...

You are like a warm dose of wisdom. The grace you possess I hope to have.

robin said...

Yep...I agree with Stephanie.

danette said...

Well said. That is so unprofessional of the DMV boss, btw :(.

I agree with you, and have to admit it is one of the reasons we tend to leave things like the speech corrections to the ST's as much as possible... I know it's important but I don't want my kids to grow up with their childhood memories of us constantly correcting their pronunciation or things like that. As it is we have to do a lot of reminders to not scream (they don't always realize they are doing it), not climb the furniture, etc. so we try to be mindful and just let them be themselves too (as long as it's not dangerous or damaging anyone's eardrums with loudness, lol).

Anonymous said...

You are an awesome mom, K. This post is perfect. So true. I believe the same...but it was good to be reminded of it all the same.


Trish said...

I saw an amazing video about this concept called "Validation" - here's the link:

I think you would really like it. It is several minutes long, so go when you have a bit of time.

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