I just knew when our son was born that he would be a challenge. One of the first things I told him was that life will be a challenge, but we will do it together.
I still can’t fully describe his mix of contradictions, even with a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder. SPD is not who he is, but rather a veil that can hide and distort his true self.
Even his teachers have a difficult time explaining him, as he doesn’t fit in any box. He is an opportunity for all of us to grow, to learn, to become our better selves. He is a challenge and an opportunity.
He isn’t alone. All of us are a challenge in one way or another, with some being even more of a challenge because they/we don’t fit into our culture’s boxes. They often don’t even see the boxes, only knowing who they are and realizing that they just don’t fit somehow.
They are a step out of place. There is just something off – and they each process it a bit differently. Some will be diagnosed and get help, others will be ignored and shoved to the side, getting lost. Others will somehow make it until they are older and on their own, to discover the gifts in their uniqueness.
All I can say, is that the love for my son is complete. He is an amazing gift from God…a Blessing. Yet even beyond that, I admire him. While his “issues” are minor, I am amazed of all that he can do and has done.
And I admire all those other kids and adults I have met with are just a bit out of sync from what is expected and normal in our culture. Every day can be a fight to be understood, a fight to not be shamed.
We see them as not trying hard enough, not listening, being distracted, or not caring. They are the ones we end up labeling as bad, worthless, or trouble makers – just because they don’t line-up with our assumptions.
Yet God reminds us that they are also God’s Children, no matter what age. They are not their “issues” or hidden challenges. Like all of us, they need love, kindness and understanding.
|“The Misunderstood Child” by Kathy Winters|
I am the child that looks healthy and fine.
I was born with ten fingers and toes.
But something is different, somewhere in my mind.
And what it is, nobody knows.
I am the child who struggles in school.
Though they say I’m perfectly smart.
They tell me I’m lazy – can learn if I try –
But I don’t seem to know where to start.
I am the child that won’t wear the clothes
Which hurt me or bother my feet.
I dread sudden noises, can’t handle most smells,
And tastes – there are few foods I’ll eat.
I am the child that can’t catch the ball
And runs with an awkward gait.
I am the one chosen last on the team
And cringe as I stand there and wait.
I am the child with whom no one will play –
The one that gets bullied and teased.
I try to fit in and I want to be liked,
But nothing I do seems to please.
I am the child that tantrums and freaks
Over things that seem petty and trite.
You’ll never know how I panic inside,
When I’m lost in my anger and fright.I am the child that fidgets and squirms
Though I’m told to sit still and be good
Do you think that I choose to be out of control?
Do you think that I would if I could?
I am the child with the broken heart
Though I act like I really don’t care.
Perhaps there is a reason God made me this way –
Some message he sent me to share.
For I am the child that needs to be loved
and accepted and valued too.
I am the child that is misunderstood,
I am different – but look just like you.
By Kathy Winters – 2003