Friday, November 15, 2013

Autism Answer: The Person Behind The Label

My best friend is a brand new fifth grade math and science teacher

We make it a point to get together once or twice a week to walk and talk, although with her schedule and stress about being a newbie, it's been a little bit more important for her to prioritize family. I get it! However, our walk n' talks are important too. 

As a new teacher she looks at her students grades for signs of how well she is doing. How they behave in her classroom and how they do on tests is one way for her to give herself feedback and judge whether or not she's finding creative and fun ways to make the stuff she's trying to teach stick. Again, I get it. 

During our walks we talk about her progress, the test results of her students and discipline issues. And as a mom that is not a teacher, I can't help but always bring it back to the kids. Together we explore the person behind teachers, students and parents. It's good for us. 

I was with my friend when she decided she wanted to become a teacher, was with her while she visited counselors and experimented with psychopharmaceutical meds for herself and her boys, was with her when she went to school and insisted on remembering the plight of the student

It was her Teaching Philosophy that inspired the writing of my Parenting Philosophy

She insists on remembering the person behind the student but struggles because of the person behind her teaching. We remember during our walks that it isn't us against them. But it is us who sometimes has to remind them. 

It's our job to advocate for ourselves and for our children. We will do a better job, I believe, if we always remember the person behind the label. All the labels!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

My Parenting Philosophy

My children are the four most important people in my world. I will always observe, listen and ask questions so that I can know them as completely as any outsider could. However, it is important to remember that I will always be an outsider. It's important to remember this so that I don't make the mistake of assuming. Assuming I know what they mean when I listen, or assuming they understand what I want them to learn when I teach. 

So I will listen with all my heart, not just to their words but to the nuances and clues; and remember to teach by example. To be the person I can always be proud of presenting to my children. A person who laughs, reflects, make mistakes and laughs again! To be the me that I love and respect, and in that way remember to expect and teach it in return.

Parenting is loving by example. Parenting is praising accomplishments large and small, and asking for more. It is sharing a life with people who you desire to know so deeply that you are willing to truly know--and love--yourself. Because you would ask it of them.

Parenting with intention is the greatest way to discover yourself. And you are the ultimate gift from the Universe.