It’s that time of year again! School has been under way for over a month. There is just something special about the beginning of a new year. Whether it is a first time student excitedly waiting for that big, yellow bus, or the seasoned senior going through their “last first day”, a new school year just seems ripe with potential. Anything is possible!
Sometimes though, despite eagerness or a willing attitude, that potential or possibilities can quickly fade into frustration bathed in tears. Special needs students can face a wide gamut of challenges that a lot of their peers can scarcely imagine. Mental, physical, or learning disabilities can make basic school tasks such as homework, or even simply paying attention to the teacher a real burden. Some of our clients’ children are no exception to these struggles. I am going to turn over part of this blog entry to the hands and insights of one of our moms. She knows firsthand what it takes for her child to succeed from day to day. Though the specific condition the client mentions is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), her words can resonate truth with parents of children coping with any disorder, condition, or even those who are just simply having a bad day.
”Having a child with a neurological disorder can be trying at times. Even with proper medication, a normal day can be very chaotic. Simple tasks like picking up toys can take hours, while trips to the store can become a full on adventure. It takes three very important things to be a parent of a child who has ADHD; patience, understanding, and lots of love.
Having a full and true understanding of this (and any) disorder will be your greatest benefit. Along with any and all information your child's doctor will give you, do as much research as you can. When it comes to day-to-day activities, patience will be your greatest virtue. Maintaining a calm but firm attitude is the best way deal with any outrageous behavior your child may display. Even though you may be frustrated when your child is having a frantic or even manic moment, show them lots of love and affection. Knowing you love them regardless of their disorder will help them push through the day.” -CPC Client
As I read her words I was struck how alike this advice is to how our Heavenly Father treats us. How much are we like a child with ADHD? Even when we know what the Lord expects of us, we can often become distracted by what looks more appealing. When we have a problem we will frantically try to solve it ourselves when it might be better to sit peacefully and listen to what God has to say. When temptation does get the best of us and we give in to sin despite our best efforts, the Lord understands us and loves us anyway. Where would we be without God’s patience, understanding, and lots of love?
Unlike many new parents, God has never needed to learn patience. He did not have to acquire it. The Lord IS it, and He continually displays it. God shows us the way to righteousness and salvation, but we often reject that teaching and turn instead to what is easy or feels good in the moment. We reject God’s goodness in this way through refusal or inability to learn. Nevertheless, God is patient. He will not give up on us. His love is unchanging and forever. What a gift the Lord has given us by faithfully showing us His patience, understanding, and love. Just like the special needs child who understands his mother’s love regardless of his daily challenges, we too can continue to push through. God’s love sustains us every moment and every day until that great day when we can grow and learn to be like Him.