I have spent a lot of time thinking about the social issues that Josh will face as he gets older, sending him to school was huge for me because I always worried that his language impairment would cause him to have problems making friends. When he first started school it took him a while to make friends, and every day he would cry and ask me not to send him back. That was September and October of this past year. I remember one night in particular when he was saying his bedtime prayers he expressed to God that he didn’t like school because ‘I can’t talk’. It made me cry, agonize and worry about him. As someone who never had a problem making friends, and after watching Kaleb take after me in the area it was something new for me to worry about with Josh. What happened if kids made fun of him? What would his self image be like if this problem wasn’t fixed in MY timeline? I can’t tell you the nights I spent lying in bed hoping and praying that Josh would make a friend at school… and I can’t tell you how many play dates I arranged to make it happen.
It’s April now, and Josh has been happily attending school for most of the year now, he loves it, he’s learning and growing in leaps and bounds. He has friends and is much better at telling me about his day.
The teacher told me that recently a boy moved here from Bulgaria, he speaks no english and he has joined Joshua’s class. Then she said, that she noticed Joshua playing with him and went over to listen to what was being said… as it turns out Joshua has been playing with him and helping him learn simple phrases, things like ‘Hi, my name is… “.
Here I was so worried about only Josh that I didn’t stop to think about what a blessing he might turn out to be with all this empathy and compassion. Seeing a little boy who knows less English that he does must have been such a wonderful chance for him to show kindness, and to gain confidence and to understand that he’s not alone. I don’t know that I have ever been prouder of my little boy before. I want my kids to be the kind of people who meet troubles and face tough circumstances with a brave face and a fighting spirit, I want them to be the kind of people who look up at the stars rather than the mud they may be stuck in. I have always wanted that, and yet I realized today that I haven’t been giving either of them enough credit. They already are those kids. Josh could stare in the face of his impairment and allow it to define him, or he can use it to show empathy and compassion to other kids like him or worse off. To know that he chose the latter fills my heart with so much love and pride.
Kaleb who is always bugging his brother, throwing things, punching, wrestling him to the ground… just yesterday told a boy off who happened to bump into Josh on the slide… he said ‘Hey! (VERY LOUDLY) Don’t hurt my brother!’!
I think… sometimes… that I am the sole person who is going to teach my kids about becoming men… I think sometimes that I am solely responsible for who they are going to become. The last few days I am being taught that I am merely here to guide, and that to believe otherwise is putting me at risk of creating idols out them.
Beautiful lessons that I am happy to learn.