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Challenge: Raising Kind Kids

​School Conference Day

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It was today. I was one of the parents that didn't sign up for my slot in a timely fashion. That's not my style, but having been gone with my youngest son all week made me emotionally unable to commit to something as neat and tidy as a half hour listed on paper. Life's not like that, is it? Mine's not, but since the world operates in a proper manner, I signed up late, showed up just in time and dedicated my very tired mind to my first three children.


Again and again, I heard nothing but nice things. These three children were kind, well-behaved, funny, empathetic, smart, very good students, wonderful children and people. I was struck with the humor of the situation. If I hadn't had Amos, I can imagine how smug I may have been with the heaping tablespoons of accolades. Amos is three with extra special needs and though I've done my best with him too, I wonder if he will ever have his name on a seat in a typical classroom. If we take credit, then we must also accept blame. Perhaps we have quite little to do with the people we call our own.

Those three belong to Amos though. They have morphed into the kind of souls born from adoring a little brother with special needs. He's in a special needs class at our public school and as dear to the heart as any of us knew possible, his needs great and his development far behind his peers. He alone has been the catalyst for the gentle siblings that have bloomed over the last three years. Does any mother long for more than that for her children?

These children of mine, the ones that fight and yell and annoy me to no end, they form the heartstrings that tie us to one another, particularly Amos. Today I heard that the kindness isn't only directed towards him. No, it resembles the flowing river that spills from a full moon's tidal pool, touching so many as it makes its' way home. Teachers, three of them, smiled at me and spoke of my children in ways that made me so happy and proud, but not surprised.

It is Amos, I said, to each one. The knowledge of that is so wonderfully humbling and I think to myself, I am thankful to be on this journey. I am thankful to be a witness to the development of fledgling souls who belong to a brother with special needs. I am so thankful for the gift of motherhood and the growing gift of knowledge that my role is more spectator and illustrator, rather than that of conductor.

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