Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Kids and Grown-ups


All kids grow up. Some at different rates and some in different ways. Most of my life Ive spent thinking about how too much is expected of kids to be something that theyre not.

Its true, kids need space to do things in diverse ways. Autism may require the people in someones environment to see their challanges and be creative about recognising and encouraging their strengths.

Today Im reminded that Im responsible for how I feel about people. I cant change how everyone feels about me but how I feel about them effects how I see things. I can get very upset by how people treat me but I can get equally hurt by how I choose to deal with the emotions I have about how Im treated. I cant afford to hold on to hurt.

When someone takes on the responsibility of bringing someone into this world they are responsible for that. Ive always considered that but maybe there is something that I havent considered that I need to.

Lots of things about growing up have often scared me. Much of my growing up has to do with things Ive learned that I really dont need to be concerned about. Many things about being a kid are things that Im really glad Ive kept. The alternatives that some people choose can get pretty ugly.

Getting married has given me many times where I just felt that Id never be typical in all the ways that some others are. Fortunately, my wife allows me to remind her of some kids stuff that she had forgotten about herself and wasnt so acostomed to before we met.

My mother shared such experienses with me as well. But Im not the only one that reminded her of such things. There was someone in my mother's and my life that we both felt needed to be more grown up and responsible. We wasted alot of time grieving over his behavior. So often we wished he would just grow up. Imaturity was just the best way I knew to evaluate his behavior. Now I have better ways of seeing it.

There seemed to be a connection that we hoped for that never happened in quite the way it seemed to for other families. My mother held it together with quite a few diverse expressions within our family. Looking back I wish that more had been seen by us all as just diverse expressions instead of the burdens we carried with our own expectations and the ones we allowed society to decide for us.

However, as I said, how I deal with what has hurt me will make a difference in how much joy I get to experiance.

Today Id like to give an opportunity to a child. (Not an old autistic man that never grew up but just a man like any man who has a child with in him that it can always be good for people to recognise). I have often grieved for this child for reasons I didnt need to at all. That really didnt help him or me either. Hes been alive for a pretty long time. He is more mature in some ways and less in others. Hes my father. Ive never known him very well but Ive wasted alot of time wishing he was more than the behaviors that he displayed. Today I know he is.

When we find different roles for ourselves, we provide the opportunity for others to play different roles as well.

Ive often in my life found ways to see how the homeless, and the institutionalised have dealt with and experienced things that I know that myself or no one else has the right to judge them for. No one can ever be sure that they would do things differently given the same circumstances because no two people have ever been given the same circumstances.

There is no reason to believe that your child wont mature beyond what my father, or I, or anyone else hasnt. It doesnt mean that anyone else wont, hasnt, or cant make better choices. Im just trying to make things better for me and maybe even those who are important to me. We all have different equitment and different cicumstances to deal with. Im not writing here about what other parents of autistics or other autistics (or anybody else) should or shouldnt be doing. ( I guess I should clairify that more often.)

All Im talking about is that sometimes *my* expectations hurt rather than help. That would seem to go for parents of children and children of parents. Im not meaning to be making a judgement about others though. It also doesnt mean that wrong isnt still wrong. It is.

I havent made the same allowances for this child (my father)that I try to recognise and accept as the child that is in each and every other person. You see this man wasnt just supposed to be any grown-up. He was supposed to be my grown up. What we think kids are supposed to be can waste so much of our time. There is no cut-off date for these expectations (even after they become parents....even when they are *our* parents).

There is also no cut-off date for when a child can learn something. Im real glad for that or I would have never learned what Im expressing here.

Sure, Ill still challange the system. The beaurocrats sometimes seem to have too much space and they crowd and cramp those who they need to serve. But each individual one of them has a child within them that gets crowded and cramped on regular basis too.

To protect our most vulnerable is our primary responsibility. How I challange all that is wrong and all I know about those that I know are being hurt, will always be a part of what I choose to change and make better. I must continue in this effort. We all need to be made more aware of such things and find ways to challenge these systems. The people who are being hurt by them have no one else to depend on for the changes that they so desperately need. I wish I knew better ways to do this and I wont quit trying.

There is a vulnerable child inside even those who are hurtful to others. People who hurt vulnerable others cannot ever be justified in their actions. Somehow there must be a way to help them feel a more imediate emotional response within themselves to the pain they inflict on others. This vulnerable side of beaurocrats needs to be addressed. If a way to stop the bad things they are doing cant be found, their behavior must have consequences. I just feel that I have to find a way to reach them. They need to be made aware of everyone that they are hurting.

As for the old kid that I felt cheated for not getting to know....the one whom I needed to understand for himself where his hurt was coming from and how he needed to find ways to heal, accept, and show compassion for himself and others.... Im going to find ways to do that in my heart for him in ways he hasnt yet been able to do for himself.

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