I've been thinking recently about the idea of honesty. Most often when we think about teaching our kids to be honest, or being honest with our spouse we think about not saying things that aren't true. So if you ask me if I ate the last cookie and I tell you that I did indeed eat the last cookie, then I have told the truth. The second thing we think about in terms of being honest is not failing to tell the truth. So if you never ask me if I ate the last cookie but I know you'd want to know where it had gone, then I should probably mention that I finished off the cookies. This is a deeper truth.
It was years ago now when a friend who had adopted two little girls with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) told me about the 10:1 ratio. The idea was that for every one word of correction that we receive we need another ten words of praise and affirmation. That's because our brains are really good at filtering out and dismissing the good things we hear - and we're even better at remember the negative.
We might never admit it to anyone else, but we sometimes like to believe that we live in a twisted Otherworld. This Otherworld (also known as 'Solipsism') is often seen as an issue just for people who are on the Autistic Spectrum, but the more I talk to people the more I think it's there for most of us unless we have consciously made a different choice. In this Otherworld, the world revolves around me: people exist to make me happy and their negative responses are deliberate and malicious attacks against me. And while most people don't take it all the way to it's logical conclusions, it does seem to show up more often than would be strictly speaking helpful.
So last week, I asked the moms in my parenting class to bring all of their clean spoons when they came. I didn't tell them why, but I specifically said, "don't clean any spoons specially - just bring what you have".
Today is Infant Loss and Awareness Day - and the 15th one I've observed as a mother who lost her child. The little boy at the top of this screen is my son. He was born the day before my 23rd birthday - the second of my three children - fifteen years ago this past August. He was beautiful and a fighter and had these intense 'old eyes' that felt like they could see into the depths of your soul. But he also had Trisomy 18 - a chromosomal abnormality similar to Down's Syndrome that causes each and every cell to end up with too much genetic information. In Jeremiah's case - and in the case of the 1:3000 live births with Trisomy 18 - this meant that Jeremiah's chances of reaching his first birthday alive were less than 10%. So I slurped up every ounce of my baby, knowing that his time was limited, but with no knowledge of exactly how long we had. Until one day I knew.
There is fear and there is love – which one do you currently parent from? Which one do you want to parent from? How do we get from there to here?