Last night while encouraging conversation with my son around the dinner table I asked my son a few questions. Simple things like what’s your favourite colour, what’s your favourite toy and what does Daddy do. These types of questions are great as beginners because I can probe him further if he gives a one word answer and ask more in depth questions as follow ups if he’s doing well. Teaching a child with autism how to communicate is much, much harder than teaching a child without autism. How do I know this with such certainty? Well my younger son is already yelling at me from his crib when he wakes “want up” and he handed me an Easter egg this morning and declared “open” with no prompting from me. Language comes with ease for the Tiny One. The monkey in our house not so much.
This stream of questions was interesting and allowed for us to see how his little brain works. He knows with great certainty that his favourite toy is his Lobster. His favourite colour changes daily and his Daddy is a Doctor. After speaking a little I asked him what Mommy does as I was curious to see what he thought I did throughout the day. In his life I am many things. I am the cook, the cleaner, the comforter and companion. I provide support and encouragement, safety and security. I am the one who is here day in and day out. I really wondered what he thought I did. When he answered I was surprised. He declared with great certainty that I was a teacher.
I am a teacher.
He’s not wrong. I am a teacher. I teach him school and life, how to communicate and exist in the world. I have sought out help in these areas but I teach and encourage and support and guide. It’s important work even when it feels at times anonymous. It’s work I do because he needs it, he thrives with it and I continue because I see the progress.
I am a teacher.
I am many things. I’m a wife and mother, a sister and friend. I am a minister and book nerd. A movie enthusiast and fit bit fanatic. I am many things but to my son right now I am also a teacher. I am helping him learn. I am teaching him how to exist in this world.
Proverbs 22:6 states “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (NLT)
It is my hope and prayer that this year as we continue our journey of learning and discovery that we find the right path and continue to walk along it. It’s a good prayer for us all this time of year really. We all want the right path for our children. We all want them to find the way and follow that truth throughout their years of living. May this year bring you and those children you love in your life opportunities for learning and discovery. May you impact their lives in new, exciting ways as you help them discover their path as they learn what it is to live in this world. We are all many things. Some of us are mothers and fathers, others aunts and uncles or grandparents or volunteers. Some are teachers in the traditional sense while others impact children in a more subtle way. Each of us regardless of circumstance has the ability to impact children in a positive way. May this year bring opportunities to shine some light, share some truth and offer guidance to children as we live and work with them in our homes, our families and our communities.