Sunday, April 27, 2014

Autism Answer: Turning Something Wrong Into Something Right!

I bought my youngest son, Declyn, a book from the thrift store a few weeks ago. I saw it was written by an author he loves, and he was just about to finish the last in a series that he had adored and was feeling emotional knowing it was coming to a close, so I wanted him to have something to fill the void.

Anyway, he started reading it about five days ago and I was thrilled! But anytime I tried to ask about the book he just shrugged and was, honestly, kind of cranky. I assumed that the book wasn't living up to his expectations and let it go, knowing at least I tried.

Well, two days ago Declyn got in the car after school and just lit into me. "Do you know when this book takes place, mom? Do you? Right after the civil war. There are lynchings and lynchings, and the "n" word over and over, and more lynchings! I'm American AND part African.... it's hard to read this!"

"Oh, baby, I'm so sorry! I didn't know! I just saw who the author was and read that it was part of a series I thought you would like... I should have looked a little deeper. You can stop reading hun. Don't keep putting that stuff in your head if it's hurting you."

Declyn pulled the book out of his back-pack and said,"No way. I have to finish. Plus, the main character is a white guy who's got feelings for a black girl, and he's standing up for all the black people. I want to be there for him, because he's putting himself in danger to help my people, so I'm going to stick with him till the end."

Then he continued reading. He finished the book yesterday and during the conversations we had because of it we gained so much!

I did the right thing when I bought him that book. Not because of the story, but because of why I bought it, and what we were willing to do with the feelings and ideas it came with. I bought it because I love him, was thinking of him, and know him well. And when he needed to talk about it I stopped what I was doing often to listen, and share my own ideas. And I encouraged him to put the book down and never pick it up again if it wasn't healthy for him, but then believed in him when he shared why it was healthy and important for him to stay with it.

If I could go back I wouldn't buy the book, because now I know what it would put him through and he doesn't need that at thirteen years old. The conversations we had about it and the things we learned because of it are things we will be offered again and again in life, so I wouldn't put him unnecessarily through it if I'd known before hand.

But, again, I still did the right thing when I bought the book because of why I bought it. And what we were willing to do with the feelings and ideas that came with it. 

I think it's important that we aren't afraid to try things with our kids, and that we are always willing to do what it takes to help them make it work. Honor the very real emotions that can come from books, friendships, video games, therapies, movies, songs, history lessons, and more. And then get in there and explore the feelings with them!

When we are thinking of our children, their interests and wants, and loving them while we do what we do, we're doing the right thing!

And when it goes wrong, we can go ahead and make it right.

"Make something good out of something bad."~Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD (from her inspirational comedy show performed in prisons)

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

My darling Declyn reading. This book is a little less intense!