Have you ever thought about what’s really, truly important in life? For most of us, it boils down to just a few things – often family, good health, happiness and love. It’s pretty hard to keep this in perspective every day though right? My boys have taught me to evaluate every day what I hold as being important.
I have to encourage my boys to do things every single day that make them uncomfortable. These things range from having their teeth brushed, to flushing the toilet, to managing unexpected routine changes, to simply accepting that we can’t always park in exactly the same place in the carpark. There are so many things they do need to be able to do to function and to keep healthy … but there are a myriad of things that we can either do differently or not at all based on whether they are a truly important life skill or not. For example …
Handwriting. In this day and age, is it really important to be able to handwrite long passages of text? It’s really not important if the child is able to operate a speech to text app and/or develop great keyboarding skills. Have you ever tried using your “Notes” feature on your Apple device? It does speech to text with great accuracy and is quick and easy to use – no cost and no wifi required.
Large school events (discos, sporting events, social evenings). I can’t say I routinely compete along with a large group of other peers in sporting events. Nor do I have to attend nightclubs or large, crowded venues if I choose not to. This is not an essential life skill.
Full time school. My boys struggle with full time hours. This year we have started home schooling four afternoons a week. They stay at school and have lunch and play with their friends, and then we come home for more individualised instruction. It’s a great alternative for us. They are more engaged whilst they are at school, they are much less fatigued and stressed across the week, and they get individualised instruction at home to address their needs.
Tying shoe laces. Again … really not an essential life skill with the invention of Velcro and other kinds of specialist shoe laces such as toggled, triathletes laces.
Fixations. Does it really matter if your child can’t sleep without an ice pack? Or if they are more interested in World War II tanks than the latest peer craze? Or if they need to have their lunch packed in separate clip lock containers? Or if they will only cross the pedestrian crossing walking exclusively on the black parts in between the white lines? Or if they need to tuck a loved object into their pocket to hold for comfort throughout the day? None of these things impact on the functionality of your child, rather they are likely to calm or regulate them to some degree.
My boys have taught me to look outside the square, to look for alternatives, to focus on the truly important things. They have taught me to let go of so many of the things I once worried about. They have taught me that my way, or society’s way, is not the only way and that in fact, there are many things we do that simply are not entirely necessary! I think there’s an awful lot of wisdom in this!!! 😀