Monday, April 21, 2014

If you aren't your child's friend...what ARE you?

So often I see people on Facebook "proud" to declare that they are their child's "parent" and NOT their "friend."

But...

"A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same." ― Elbert Hubbard

"One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood." ― Lucius Annaeus Seneca

"A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down." ― Arnold H. Glasow


"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing... not healing, not curing...that is a friend who cares." ― Henri Nouwen

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend." ― Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Friends and good manners will carry you where money won't go." ― Margaret Walker


"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them". ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A true friend freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably." ― William Penn

"A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself." ― Jim Morrison


"Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything."  ― Muhammad Ali

“An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a fair-weather companion flatters when all is well, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear.” ― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

“Friendship is the only cure for hatred, the only guarantee of peace.” ― Gautama Buddha


“It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.” ― Marlene Dietrich

“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”  ― Robert Louis Stevenson


"Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together." – Woodrow T. Wilson



Proverbs 17:17 
"A friend loves at all times"


John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.


Luke 7:34
The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’


Luke 12:4 
“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.


So, if these are all the things a friend is...and if you think that being a parent means you aren't all those things to your child...then...what ARE you to your child? 

There is no greater thing you could be to your child than to be their best friend...

And, we wonder what's wrong with kids these days?



Other posts on "Friendship"



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Guest Post: Journey with Aspergers

This is (a rough draft of) chapter 1 of the book, "Journey with Aspergers" that is being written by a friend of mine named David Bell.

I am going to leave it here for you all as he wrote it...



Chapter 1: Growing up 

Now at first when I was growing up, Aspergers was often mistaken as AD/HD which is a different form. It often meant lack of focus and some problems I didn't understand. Teachers were hard on me in normal class, though going back to the beginning is easier. I spent my early years in a Christian School, now that I'm older I realize demonizing the people who did their jobs isn't right. See when you acted out they spanked you, even back than I didn't make friends. I was a distant child who felt nervous in rooms filled with people, which is why I believe I acted out. 

My mother took care of me in ways not many parents could of, I wasn't an easy child to handle. I suffered from abandonment issues severally, often wondering if because a person left I never would see them again. I still to this day suffer from this feeling, it may come from the abandonment issues I suffer from. But even as a child I didn't make friends like most people do. With most people who go through school they make friends and keep contact. I didn't do that, Aspergers in it's most known form is a learning disability but it's more than that. Those with it, suffer extremely socially it's hard for us to figure out things people have. Like unless I spend an extended period of time with a person, I can't see the signals things are wrong.

After the time at the Christian School came my next memory which was going to a public school, while I don't remember this event directly I believe it was painful. I couldn't read at all at the time and one of the teachers forced me to read in front of the class. I believe it may of been an event that triggered a large deal of pain for me as a child. So I tried to block it out and keep only memories that weren't so painful. But as I got older I noticed I had bad hand writing and wasn't exceptionally talented at anything but video games. Like most people I didn't know what I wanted as a child and nobody can really claim they do. I felt alone and outcast even among family. I did have a single talent I could memorize the bible and hold it's scripture dearly within my heart. I believed firmly in God, but I didn't fear him as a child. I felt like he replaced a void in my heart, but the more I think on it. I was in pain but never let anyone in. Something I'm not doing these days, but I'm still inexperienced at letting others inside. I always dreamed as a child that I could be that hero, the person who helped everyone. It's a desire deep within my heart to help others and protect them from the pain I had.

Now I would be lying if I said people didn't really help me learn. As a child I was angry and lost and God saw this and put someone in my life. He guided me and showed me a kindness I hadn't seen before. He even helped my mother who needed it as well, I wish I had known how much she suffered than too. Part of the autism prevented me from seeing it, but I thank God such a person helped her. He helped me accept their was nothing wrong with being different, it was through him I met true friends for the first time. I didn't keep contact with many of them as I grew up. I have no problem claiming this fact for the world to know, this man is my greatest Hero and I always think about how can I honor his memory. As a child he taught me it was ok to be a kid, to live like one. He encouraged me to come out of the box I had built around me. His family and them are some of the greatest people I will ever know, I won't be giving out names as this is a journey for you and me. I can't remember the days of school as he took such good care of me. Helping me through struggles that I doubt anyone but God himself could of helped me through. I used to be scared of being different, but I now accept it and encourage you to do the same.

As time progressed I was put into the school system's class room for people with my autism. AD/HD which was still what people believed I had. It was hard, the kids were violent and often had outbursts of anger. When you are around such people you turn into it, the teachers didn't know what they were dealing with. So they couldn't really contend with children or help us learn effectively in most cases. Some were good and some were bad, I remember being hit and struck by students in the class rooms. 

As I got older it become more clear I was different from the children in the class room, I wasn't angry or upset. But distant and lonely yet again as I started to try and cut myself off from people. Just so I could avoid being hurt and left alone again. This was around the time that wonderful man wasn't in my life for a while. I learned a great many things during this time, becoming a student slowly allowed me to grow. Yet during this time I didn't have any friends that stood out, as a student I didn't have the quality to allow me to make friends. You see I have best friends I grew up with but still even with them I don't keep great contact. Now of course I made friends on the surface and even could remember names. But they weren't people who came around or called me truthfully. Part of this was my isolation of myself, as a child I thought I had to do this. Perhaps it was because I was scared of being abandon and growing attached. The only person I let myself lean on was my Mom and the family of that man.

Some of the friends knew a bit of what I wanted them to know. But as I got older, listening to people who could play music and do many things. I often fell into depression, not knowing what I was supposed to do. What was my talent, surely God couldn't use video games as a talent. But what I didn't know, was that God had a far greater talent hidden within me waiting for the right time. I'll write something here for special showing what my talent is, it's a poem I have been working on for that man. It's called Hero but anyways I'll include it in this section of the book. It's something I wish I had gotten the chance to read to him. 

As I grew up I was switched around school systems. I was put into a school with my best friend, only now have I realized that bullying has forms that people don't know. You have the regular bully who just beats and demoralizes a person. Than you have the people, I say people and not person. Growing up the children who had autism or were in special classes were cut off from other students. During lunch we couldn't pick where we sat, we were forced to sit together. This caused most of us I think to become worse. To seek being alone over being with other people, by cutting us off from other people. It only made us more anti-social than we already were. It felt as though the second type of bully was here, like even if we did reach out. People wouldn't acknowledge us and we just didn't belong in society.

That man came back into my life again for a time, he'd moved out of the old house I had grown so fond of. An apartment complex of sorts is where he'd gone now. I think my mom could tell I was getting worse and put me back with him again. I came out of my shell a little bit, I now wish I had spent more time with him. I played around wishing I could speak other languages often pretending I could just to be more. Most of my childhood around this periods was uneventful, I continued down the path getting guidance from him all the way. God continued to provide guidance with him and his family. But as time went on soon that would disappear and I would have to try and make way through troubled waters. He moved farther away and I felt myself close up again. I kept a mask on for many years so my family only saw that. I was feeling abandoned again, but he did his best to make sure I knew it wasn't that way. I continued in the school districts till I hit my middle school years, which will be talked about in the next chapter. Below this section I will include the poem to show the talent for writing I got as I got older. 

Aspergers isn't a happy story all the time, but we are heroes of our stories. Growing up is hard and you can do this as parents or people with it. Just remember don't close yourself off no matter how hard it is. In closing this chapter I am going to be honest and say that it's a tough road as a parent. I see this only now for my mother, she did things that most parents don't. She worked hard to make sure I was treated normally and to this day fights for me on a daily basis. Now I encourage you to look for things you enjoy, writing, music, and the arts. I didn't have the confidence to try and write but now it's different obviously. Just don't give up yet, you have a bright future ahead of you as you are the hero of this story.


Poem

You are my hero, the one who saved me the road I travel. Who brought me freedom from darkness, showing me light. Delivering me from anger to happiness it's through you my hero that I find peace. The truth is you showed me I was a hero in the making. A hero of a different story and of a different fable. You showed me my road was ok and accepted me as a hero. For that I say you are my hero that forever lives in my heart.



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