|Joshua and Monica on Josh's 1st birthday|
Photo by Raymond Pickard
My son, who I’ve come to see as a perfect human being, is my favorite teacher. Today, as I write this, it is his twenty-fifth birthday. What a time we’ve had together these past 25 years! My son, Joshua, is mentally challenged and through being his mom I have made some very profound revelations. That is why I call him my teacher. It may seem odd that someone who has trouble learning can be a teacher, but we can learn from any situation and from any person. The main revelation I made is that probably 99% of the people on this planet are mentally challenged. I don’t mean we are intellectually challenged, like Joshua, but that we are psychologically challenged, in a way that is so easy to fix it is almost laughable. We don’t even realize it until we wake up and discover some simple, yet profound truths. Without Joshua, I’m not sure how I would have come to learn these life lessons, but my heart’s desire is to help others wake up and recognize their own mental challenges.
When Joshua grows up will he be like a child in a man’s body?
When the words came out of his mouth I was stunned. I don’t think that thought had occurred to me before that moment. I had been focused on finding out what the problem was and if there was any way to fix whatever was causing his delays. I hadn’t thought that far into the future. For an instant, I was horrified of what her answer would be, but at the same time, I was eager to hear it. Her answer turned out to be a relief.
How does she know she is right?
She’s a doctor. She probably sees lots of kids like Josh and so she knows what we can expect.
She knows so much more than we do about these things; after all, she went to school for this.
Still, why would he even ask that? How did that enter his mind? Has he been wondering that all these months and never told me?
She said that if Joshua learned anything in occupational therapy it would be a good sign and he did learn something. He did. That’s a good sign. We just have to keep taking him to therapy and he will do better and better.
I used to have a home daycare and when Joshua was little, shortly after he was diagnosed, one of my clients asked if it would become a problem for me, as our children grew up together, if her child started to pass Joshua in their abilities. I hadn’t even thought of that up until that point (just like with my husband’s question to the doctor – see a pattern? You can take on fears of others, or create them yourself) but when she asked the question my ego latched on to that idea and off I went to ‘feeling sorry for Monica land.’ I started to come up with all kinds of nonsensical stories of how sad that would be for me. Her ego had probably brought up these same stories in her mind about how sad it would be for me. Her ego might even have suggested that it would be hard for her to see their ability levels changing in front of her – poor little Joshua. It is possible she asked that question because she felt superior for having a ‘normal’ child. And yet, it is also possible that she felt true compassion for me because my child was disabled and she was genuinely concerned about how I would feel. My point is, whatever judgment I place on her question comes from my own mind and has nothing to do with her. I can't possibly know for 100% certain what was in her mind. I choose which judgment I am going to place on it. It’s about the story I tell myself about it and what I choose to believe. For all I know, neither scenario is true. Whatever reason caused her to ask the question has nothing to do with me. It was all about her ego stories in her mind.
What if they think I’m a know it all?
What if they think I’m arrogant and conceited for doing this?
What if they think I’m silly?
What do I have to contribute?
Can I handle any criticism that may come my way?
If you know me on Facebook you know I love a great quote, so here’s one more.
“Speak truth to power. Speak truth to love, even if your voice quivers because that is how the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings wants us to live.” ~