I went to my badminton league last night. The talent varies widely from children (many better than me) to those who play in tournaments. My daughter wanted to attend with me. She had only played badminton a few times with the neighborhood kids, but considered herself a good player.
Once on the badminton court, we began to warm up by hitting the birdie back and forth. Well, I hit it and she would try. She had problems serving the birdie, and as her confidence decreased, she soon was not able to hit the birdie at all. I suggested she try hitting it anyway she was comfortable, but it grew worse until it looked like she was going to cry. I wasn’t sure what to do, but continuing seemed cruel, so I suggested we stop for the night. As I was talking with another woman on the sidelines, my daughter and I were invited to play the next game.
My daughter and I stood in the middle of the court and had a quiet discussion. I asked her, “Do you want to play?” My daughter said “Yes.” I thought the game would to be too much for her and she’d be humiliated, but didn’t want to tell her that. The facilitator came up and asked if there was a problem. I told him my daughter hadn’t played before. “No problem. This isn’t life or death,” He said, “Let’s see what you can do.”
My daughter misses her first serve. I cringed. But his reaction changed everything. “Let me show you how to hold the racket,” he offered. And she is instructed for a half hour by him and another man on how to properly serve. They were genuinely patient and happy to do it. It was like watching Buddha teach badminton! The woman next to me began to observe the instruction and practice the “new” technique. Then I joined in. It became a learning session for all of us. And my daughter’s confidence went up and she enjoyed herself.
I saw such a gap between the men’s level of patience and my own. Their patience changed the situation into one of learning and love. Their perception changed the outcome. I want that level of patience for myself.
Yesterday, at a meetup group for intuitive and sensitive kids, a play date had been scheduled at a member’s farm house. Seven children played for hours, riding go-carts, jumping on a trampoline, playing dodge ball, and exploring the farm. Afterward, the host served a grand banquet of food. I was impressed with the spread and asked why they had served so much.
The grandmother of the three of the boys said, “This is the first time they’ve had friends over.”
I was shocked. Her grandsons varied in age from nine to 13 years old. How could they never had friends over? I asked the reason, and the grandmother replied they were autistic and didn’t have friends at school.
I was stunned. I hadn’t noticed. And neither had my children. Yet, I witnessed what appeared to be an ordinary day with kids playing well together. Go-carting. Hide-and-seek. Basketball. Why did this day go so well?
I have often heard that autistic kids are intuitive, which makes them receptive to the energy around them. I could see how group environments might upset them. They could easily pick up anger, excitement and irritation from the kids and teachers around them. I certainly have experienced this myself when going to the store, driving or working. But these kids had been content around my kids, whose energy was well balanced. This helped demonstrate that when we are at peace with ourselves, we provide a healing environment for others around us.
In the car, as we pulled away, my kids said to me told me how much fun they had, and wondered when they could do it again.
I let them know how special this day had been for those boys. Because they were autistic, this had been their first play date.
My kids were stunned. They hadn’t noticed. They just had fun. Souls playing with other souls.
Yesterday my daughter had her first slumber party. A half hour before nine girls were to show up, I went upstairs to ask for help from the divine. I asked for patience, endurance and to not get mad over trivia things that might occur. Especially after the other morning when I lost my temper over my son not taking out the trash – a minor incidence compared to how I knew this day would test me.
At the party, we made punch, hit a piñata, played silly games, ate dinner and cheese cake and watched a video. The toilet also plugged up, the handle on the piñata fell off, the punch stained the counter top, and the girls were loud, but they were having fun – lots of it!
Later that night before going to bed, I thanked God for letting me make it through the day with my dignity intact, with no yelling or lose of control. And then I put my ear plugs in and went to sleep. It was a perfect day for my daughter, which was the most important aspect of this.
“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece by thought, choice, courage and determination.”
– John Luther
I received an email from a friend today stating how much she had enjoyed my children’s company and how well behaved they are. It’s comforting to know that others find my kids well behaved, but most importantly, that people are valuing what is inside my children.
…When I first knew you, I admired your business sense and talent (still do actually) but as I have become older and my priorities have become more clear to me, I most admire you for what you have given of yourself as a mother to assure that the two young lives entrusted to you are raised so that they will have great character and strong values. If I were to say that Savannah and Zach are beautiful children both inside and out, that would sum it up perfectly.
I hope that when other people see my children who are happy and well-adjusted, that I inadvertently promote a more holistic and maybe even a shamanistic approach. An approach that has raised a son who formed a “worm club” to save worms every morning at the bus stop from drying out on the sidewalk. And a daughter, who yesterday carried a bug outside the house instead of squishing it. When I see these actions in my kids, I know they have learned values about life and love that have been built over time. Hopefully, they will go forth as adults to promote healing just by being loving.