Dance on Monday, CSA Pick up on Tuesday, Church on Wednesday, Therapy on Thursday and Family Movie Night on Friday. Add in things like groceries, laundry and cooking and the schedule seems full.
It seems, especially where we live, people easily exist within their own four walls without many other connections. Managing a Difficult Mind just adds to this tendency. When leaving the house is always a challenge, why even try?
This is where I think a lot of us get it wrong, myself included. We look at our own lives and own burdens and think “well, my life is really hard, I just can’t give back.” Nonsense, sort of.
Let me be clear, there are seasons where giving back is not an option. The more high needs the child, the less there is to give away. For some, raising a high needs child is your life’s greatest calling. You know what you can and can’t do!
Let me be honest, a lot of us could do more and we just choose not to. We could bake a loaf of bread for a bake sale, we could write thank you notes to our children’s teachers, we could drop a cup of coffee off to that mom who is struggling like we are.
Giving is grows us and it grows our child with the Difficult Mind.
For the parent who is giving:
We are reminded of others. Their lives, their stories, their needs.
We are breaking routine, in a good way! Most Difficult Minds require a schedule and as the person guiding that process, it becomes tiring. Doing something for someone else is a break in routine and that is a good thing!
We learn who we are. When we give we learn how much we can and can’t do. We learn our own abilities and our own limitations. We learn to say “yes, I can do that this week” and “no, I have to take care of myself and my child this week”. In learning who we are we also begin to embrace our own story.
For the Difficult Mind who gives:
The Difficult Mind is reminded of others. This is a skill that does not come naturally to them. They may even complain about serving others. We all need to challenge our comfort zones, giving to others, even in the simplest ways, does this for them.
The Difficult Mind is interacting with a different routine, in a good way! We have to plan ahead to include my son in giving and serving. We have to spend time talking about it, going over the details, helping him feel safe and preparing for various outcomes. This is good for the Difficult Mind. If we hope for him to be an intricate part of his community we have to give him a community to be a part of. Giving is a great place to start.
The Difficult Mind learns who he is. Our son is exploring his strengths and weaknesses as he gives. He is learning his likes and dislikes. He is learning how to say “no” when he just can’t handle it and how to say “yes” without being a bully. He is creating his own story.
Giving is one of the hardest things for both the Parent and Difficult Mind to engage in. The parent is already tired and worn down, the Difficult Mind is already being challenged and stretched. It feels impossible.
My story reminds me that we were made for each other. In putting giving and serving at the bottom of our list we are cutting ourselves and our children off from potential community. Most, if not all, of my community and support has stemmed from a place where I gave.
This giving, it doesn’t have to be extraordinary. Write a thank you note, watch a friends child for a short time, send plates and napkins to school for the next holiday party. The small things can make a huge difference, for you and someone else!
Remember grace. If you are in a season where your plate is full, let someone give to you. Let them bring you a meal or watch your child or say encouraging words over you.
Remember grace. When you are in a more manageable season, give back. That is how grace works. Grace is a gift from a full heart given to the person around you with an empty one.
“Hope and sorrow in it all there’s rescue and there’s not.”
There’s Rescue: There are seasons for both myself and my son that I am able to give. To give of my time and energies is something I really enjoy and I am a different person when I am able to do it.
There’s Not: There are seasons when giving is more than I can handle, we are in one of those seasons right now. Life is very rough at the moment. In not giving as much as I wish I could I fight feelings of guilt, sadness and frustration.
Today I am thankful for small gifts and small giving.
Linking up with Unforced Rhythms today…