Yesterday Keilan and I were chatting about his upcoming Equine Therapy course. I was asking him if he was excited about it.
To back up a step, this equine therapy is a 9 week or something class that helps teach self control and emotional health and well being and basically continues to help him learn skills to make better choices from his ADHD. I’m super excited for this class foe him
His thoughtful response surprised me a bit. Partly because it reminded me that he’s not so little anymore, now that’s he’s in the 4th grade; and partly because of the amount of thoughtfulness. His response made it clear to me that he had thought a lot about this before I even asked the question.
Often I get frustrated by his repetitive bad choices. But his response again reminded me that as much as I get frustrated by his behaviour choices, I am not alone. He too is frustrated by his own behaviour choices. This isn’t a perspective I often think of or remember. I tend to fall into the category of getting upset with his intentional bad choices. The fact that he actually doesn’t always like his own choices doesn’t often occur to me. His ADHD often controls and leads his poor choices and I forget this. I forget sometimes that he’s come a long ways in his journey of self awareness and self control and emotional health. Yes, he has a long ways to go, but he’s come a far ways down his road already.
Back to his comment.
He replied to me that he loved horses and he was super excited to get to go to horse school. He said he also really wished I could go horse back riding with him again. And he then told me that he was happiest about his horse therapy classes because it would mean that when he finished he could return to Kung Fu and because he would be better able to control his emotions and actions he would have more fun and be able to finally get a new belt. Then he told me that his big plan was to do good in his class and learn to control his emotions and actions so he could succeed at Kung Fu and then he would get stronger and be happier and then he could go back in swimming lessons and he would be more successful than last time.
Part of me was shocked by his response. Part of me was proud. Part of me was sad. He carries the weight of his poor choices much more than I realized. He dislikes them as much or more than me. I just have to try to remember that when he’s in the middle of making one and I’m trying to help him not and his ODD is in high gear.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not one who over praises my kids. Don’t get me wrong, I praise them for what they do. I just don’t over exaggerate or inflate their accomplishments. I feel strongly that it isn’t helpful or healthy for the child and the only one benefiting is the parent. And that is because the parent is selfishly getting their self esteem and pride from their children’s accomplishments, instead of their own.
I’ve tried really hard to be a real parent who allows her children to sink or swim all on their own merits. I’ve tried to allow my children opportunities to thrive and to soar. But I’ve also tried really hard to be honest in my praise and criticism. Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone can do anything they put their heart and mind to. I truly wish it were true, but it simply isn’t.
That being said, we’ve made so many sacrifices to give our children opportunities and to help them reach their potential. I will be honest though, we’ve also passed up on some other pretty amazing opportunities that have been offered our children. Like when Karyssa was 3 and she was scouted for ski racing and they were ready to exempt the age 5 rule for her. Or when Katie was scouted for the synchronized skating team, but we knew that we would never be able to afford the travel in 3 years time.
But, despite our passing on various opportunities we still managed to give our children plenty of opportunities to learn and try and thrive.
All this to say, In different ways every one of children has surpassed me. And I’m very proud of this!
Katarina has achieved her purple belt in kung fu. She can play the piano amazingly. She can pick up any sheet music and play the song. A skill I don’t have. She got perfect scores on her rhythm exams in band.
Karyssa has a heart that is empathic and she loves people. She can spot a person who is struggling and just goes to them. She is always quick to help and loves fully. She has long since passed my kung fu skills (which are none!) and piano skills (almost none). She can sit at the piano and make beautiful music and she can run around in band play the percussion amazingly! She has such potential which I can’t wait to see where it takes her!
Kianna is a joker. She can make almost anyone laugh. And her humour is wide and varied. She is sensitive to those around her who are alone or lonely. She knows how to love people well. She is already such an amazing young lady and I look forward to watching her find her wings and her gifts and soar!
Keilan is my little firecracker! He has shown me that anything is possible, and with enough work and dedication and commitment one can make real strides to conquer their struggles. He is the picture of grace and love and forgiveness. Sometimes we can’t see these gifts of his, they are covered up by other distractions. But, if you take the time and give him the space and opportunity and accept his struggles, you will see it. And it will leave you changed. His isn’t an easy life. He is so easily distracted and he has to work 100x harder than the rest of us to keep his focus and attention and to do remember to obey and not defy. But he will leave his mark on the world. I can see it already.
I am happy to see my children surpass me in their skills and abilities and become amazing people that will make a real difference in the world! I don’t care how smart my kids are, I never have. I care how caring and loving and kind they are. And all my kids have this in spades!