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Monday, March 5, 2012

reflecting on comment....

So,  i received an interesting comment about my last post from someone who decided to be anonymous.  The poster who was too fearful to even write their name said that essentially that I hate school and have poisoned my children against it (which must be why we spend time every night finding the three things we like best about school, and what they are looking forward to at school tomorrow--yeah, I really am trying to poison my children against school...(rolls eyes...sigh...)).  Which I find interesting, given that most of the last post discussed the benefits of homeschooling against the benefits of public school education--and the reasons that I DID NOT want to pull my son out of public school.  Because of the BENEFITS that school offers.  Just because I believe that certain aspects of education are better fulfilled in other ways, and because certain aspects of the institution of school bother me, does not mean I hate school.  If I truly hated school and saw no beneficial reason for sending my children, they would have been home schooled long ago.  Which tells me that the person (unless they are just a troll trying to create discord and hurt in an already painful and difficult situation, in which case I stick my tongue out at you and pray that you get a life worth living) has not truly read my posts about Josiah's schooling, or understood the many many things I have said about my beliefs about school or what I want for my children.  As I do not hate school--there are things I hate ABOUT school, there are certain people associated with the school that I do NOT like, but as a whole, if the placement and supports are correct, then school can be a VERY positive and beneficial experience. 

As any of my readers know, there have been many posts about the challenges that my son is facing at school, and I have talked at length about my feelings about how the school handles some things well and how they do not.  I have talked at length about my feelings about the basic structure of the public school system as a whole and how it is not ideal for the complete well rounded development of children.  I have also stated many times why it is beneficial and an important part of the childhood experience in this culture.  I have talked about my feelings on home school, and why I feel it is important for my kids to BE IN SCHOOL.  Even the public school system know and requires only 2 hours of one-on-one instruction in lieu of a 6-7 hour school day, as the shorter, more individual education takes far less time to accomplish more academics.  That is because, part of a child's education at school has nothing at all to do with academics--it has much, much more to do with social and cultural molding.  And that is very important.  Most people who remove their children from public education do so because of they do not agree with the social and cultural molding their children are getting.  I am not a huge fan of it myself, as I believe it is an outdated motif, left from from an industrial, assembly line mentality era, when it was important to get children accustomed to the industrial life view and living model.  Our world has change to a post-industrial era, and creativity, individuality, and numerous other social and cultural traits are more valuable than industrial modality, but it is taking the school model longer to change than the culture as a whole. 

I have spent more energy (physical, emotional, & cognitive) dealing with school related issues in the past four years than i have in dealing with ALL of the other issues the boys have combined, which if you know anything at all about my boys and their special needs, you will have some understanding go how much time and energy goes into managing their needs aside from school and aside from them just being kids.  The main reason for that is that public school is not in any way designed to handle kids who do not fit into basic molds.  And we, as a society and a culture, have learned that people have value (did you know that anonymous commenter) and can contribute to society as a whole, as well as live fruitful lives from an individual perspective, if all people are treated like people and given the opportunity to have a family, to have an education, to have social interaction, to be out in public--unlike the 1950's idea that all people who do not fit the right molds need to be locked away, and neglected, and allowed to die or languish is some state akin to death, rather than given then chance to reach their potential.  Thar means that those who would have been locked away before, are now being included in life and society as they should be.  BUT it also means that people have to be flexible, and be able to learn and be able to adapt and change, and be open minded--they need to think outside the box, and be ready fro trial and error, be ready to have unexpected reactions, and be willing to lose the cookie cutter children idea.  It means that those with special needs, have special needs--needs that are different from the needs of the average person.  it means that something that worked well for me or you or joe schmo down the street, may or may not work well for them.  If their needs did not differ significantly from the average person--they WOULD NOT HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS!!!

It means that as a parent I have to be more flexible in my expectation, my desired for my own life, and my dreams for the future both for myself and my children.  It means that the doctors have to be willing to gain knowledge about their various medical issues which make treatment different for them in some areas.  it means that teachers need to be open to learning other styles of teaching and dealing with a child whose needs and abilities are different.  It means that people need to stop assuming they have it all figured out, and be flexible, wiling to change, and grow and learn--not just once but everyday.

So, dear troll, it also means that as a parent, I need to work as hard as I can to find what works and what does not for my child.  That in order for him to reach his fullest potential, have stability, develop appropriate social behaviors, and become a fully independent adult in another 15 years, I need to respond appropriately to his needs, and be his advocate to ensure that those environments and areas(medical, educational, psychosocial, developmental, and social) that are part of his life and vital to his growth and maturation, are appropriate and are helping rather than hurting his ability to become an independent adult.  My job is not to ensure that he is always happy or have everything that he wants, my job is not to make the lives of those who know him easier and to pity them for their having to work with a child with challenges, my job is not to make excuses fro his behavior or to ignore his needs and try to force him to be "normal" (we all can see how easy to is to say to the child "get up and walk like a real kid" and when he does not to blame him for his insolence, or blame his parent fro carrying him--forget the fact that he has cerebral palsy and can even stand with out support--if that is ridiculous, why would you think that other special needs are less debilitating or more deliberate?). 

My job and my passion to to help make the world a place where all people --ALL PEOPLE (even the comment trolls)--can be accepted for who they are, for the amazing things that they CAN do, for the unique ways that they can contribute to the growth and evolution of humanity, and for the blessing they can bring to all that they meet.  And I know that I will meet many people (have already) that do not understand.  People that can not see past their own personal experience to recognize that there are different kinds of people in the world and ALL have value.  There are people who do not understand how you can be upset about something going on with a particular situation without hating the whole situation.  People who do not get that just because something is less than ideal, that it is okay to express your thoughts about  that less ideal issue without having to write off the whole institution.  So, I hope that the commenter will have the courage and the respect to step forward and discuss their reflections openly and with thoughtful respect.  And will remember that all of us get frustrated sometimes, and there is nothing wrong with being frustrated.  God knows my son's teachers get frustrated, and struggle with how to be approach the situation, but sometimes it is overwhelming--and it is okay to feel overwhelmed, it is okay to need to walk away, it is okay to vent and to rant---and it is okay to then come full circle and be ready to step in again and try to work towards a solution.  God knows we all hit different parts of that circle at different times...even in the same day.

So i will continue to work with the school personnel, with the teachers, with the therapist, with the doctors, with my son and with myself regarding ongoing issues at school.  I will continue to vent when I need to, reflect on things when I need to ,work out my thoughts and feelings, work through new information, and be open to expressing all of it in a public forum--because I know that I am not alone in these challenges, I am not alone in these frustrations, I am not alone in these joys, I am not alone in these blessings---and even the trolls are there to remind me why I blog, why I think out loud (in writing even) and why i am NOT afraid to openly express my feelings in a public forum.  There are others out there who need to know they are not alone in their experiences.  There are those who like to hear how ideas and thought processes are moving so that they can use some of it for their situation.  And there are those like the anonymous commenter, who need to express their own frustration, and remind me that what we think someone is saying is not always what they are saying.  inference and implications may be completely different...and it is okay---each person lives their own life their own way.

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