Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Road Map to Success

I hope everyone had a good holiday! We have had some snow storms and very cold weather here, so the kids are getting an extra long holiday break!

I haven't been able to write since Christmas, as my computer crashed. I don't know anything about computers, but I did learn that the message it gave me was basically the equivalent of your computer is dead! So, tonight I am working on a borrowed one. It seems to work the same......

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine whose kids both have some minor speech concerns. She was researching different diagnoses and treatments. It made me start thinking about some things... and that is never good!

I was thinking about labels. We label everything, we label everyone. That's the part I hate! The way we label people. Obviously, it's not all labels I despise! I'd love to be labeled "the hot chick!" That's one I wouldn't hate! I won't hold my breath for it, though! "The fat one," that's a label I hate. Anyhow, you get the picture.

My mind really got in a flurry when I started thinking about the labels put on kids, particularly special needs kids. Remember, Alex and Twins Sis are in Middle School, so labels are important. I started thinking about who put those stupid labels on Alex and why.

Let me start with the labels I am talking about. Of course we know Alex is the Sped Kid, the one who has to go to speech because he can't talk right, the kid that goes to those special classes, the kid that rides the short bus and the one I wrote about before but won't use, the R-word. That's just a few. Twin Sis and Big Sis have them to. You know what I mean, "the girl whose brother blah, blah,blah...".

It seems like all the kids in middle school fit into some sort of category. They aren't all bad, it is just sort of sad.

The categories that Alex generally fits into, always seem to to be the ones that the other kids love to hate! This, of course, means the girls get the negative labels attached to them, too. When I hear people talk about, or to my kids in this way, it not only hurts, but it makes me angry. And I am one mean momma!

Anyhow, during all this deep thinking, I had another one of those aha! moments! Great . . . usually, just shortly after that aha!, I realize... I am an idiot! For the record, it is only for that one second, that I ever think this about myself, and it is only here, for this one minute, that I admit to ever doubting myself !! :D

All of a sudden it hit me, Alex's Dad and I had given all three kids these hurtful labels. What an awful gift to give your children, right? Well, here's the deal. Alex is the Sped Kid! We made him the Sped Kid! We did it when he was very little! We did it on purpose! We would do it again! Alex is better for it! Alex's Dad and I are better for it! Big Sis and Twin Sis don't realize it yet, but they are better for it!

By being the Sped Kid, Alex's Dad and I have given him the chance to learn things that he would never be able to learn in a regular classroom. By forcing him to be the kid who goes to speech because he can't talk, we are giving him the opportunity to learn to talk better when he is older. That's a much better way to look at things, isn't it? Actually, that's not just an appearance that's the fact of the matter.

Everyone has a weakness. We chose to aggressively treat Alex's weaknesses so that his life would be the best it could be. Just think if everyone chose to treat their weaknesses how many labels there would be. Maybe then, none of them would be treated as a negative one!

My one and only New Year's Resolution is to make myself remember this. I am really not overly sensitive to the matter, I just don't like to see people hurt my kids. I do get my feelings hurt on occasion, also. But from now on, I am going to remind myself that as painful as these may sound now, these labels are actually Alex's road map to success!

Now all I have to do is sell this to the 850 middle schoolers at the twins' school. That's the answer! I can hear it now! "Stop picking on him! It's his ROAD MAP TO SUCCESS!!! " Then maybe a kid can just be a kid!


The Lesters said...

What a great perspective. I was just thinking about this the other day. I was wondering why we are going through all this testing for Peter just so they can put a label on him. It's not like the actually testing is going to help him in any way. But you hit the nail on the head. I want the label because once he has that then it opens up all kinds of opportunities for therapies, treatments, insurance coverage, etc... Like you though I hope that people will use it in a positive way rather than a negative.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

You make an excellent point. I wish I didn't pigeon hole my family and friends. I need to work on that. Thanks for stopping by.

mosey along said...

Did you ever read "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café"? It made me think about labels in a different way after the main protagonist nicknames her son "Stump" after he loses his arm in an accident. When people question her motivation (and cruelty?), she responded that she just wanted to give him that name so that someone else wouldn't. Which would take the sting out, in her logic. Not having been in that situation, I can't disagree. I fight against labels myself, but perhaps they do offer a positive impact depending on the circumstance?

Wonderful post and food for thought. (Thanks for stopping by!)

The Lesters said...

Just wanted to thank you again for the support you have given me on my blog. It really helps to know I'm not alone. You asked for my e-mail, here it is: