My son has recently picked up a very bad habit, and I am very concerned. This habit is worse than kicking a puppy. It is worse than cussing in church. It is worse than smoking, drinking and general carousing on a school night. It it much, much worse than forgetting your mother's birthday.
It's so bad that I am embarrassed to even be talking about it.
My son, my precious child, my one and only son, has started to say "I can't."
Somewhere along the way, my son heard those words. Worse, he likely saw that the person who used those words was fussed over and given positive attention. Darn that vicarious learning! Now he expects the same treatment from his parents. I can tell by that expectant look on his face. Zane expects us to fuss over him and hold him and worse, tell him that he doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want to do.
But we aren't going to do that. We are going to make him try.
Being a child is about experiencing the world first hand. Children are natural explorers. They are natural risk takers. They seek knowledge where ever they can find it. Childhood is about trying. At least it should be.
No young child on this planet should ever say "I can't" before they've even tried. They should never say that they can't; that has to be a violation of some sort of law of the universe. To quit before you've even tried must cause some sort of ripple in the Matrix.
One of my favorite movie quotes is from the movie Batman Begins. Bruce Wayne's father asks his son, "And why do we fall, Bruce?" Thomas Wayne then answers the question for his son, "So we can learn to pick ourselves up." A child tries something, falls/fails, and learns to pick themselves up so they can try again or try something else. That is how they learn persistence, self-reliance, resiliency -- all those wonderful things that will ensure their independence as adults.
We must let the child try. We must allow them to fall, so they can learn to pick themselves up. This is especially true of children with special needs, because they have to work harder than others. We may make accommodations or adaptations, but it is the child who must make the effort, not us.
There are going to be many adventures for my child to experience as he grows up. Some of those adventures will be fun, some will not. Zane will fall/fail many, many times, I know that, and it is my greatest hope that he learns to pick himself up and move forward. I do not want him to shy away, I want him in the thick of life, where he belongs. He's not going to get there by saying "I can't".
We have our work cut out for us.
Photo Credit: aussiefan.
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