I wear a pendant around my neck that gets me through everything. A quote from the Song of Solomon, in English it translates to, “This Too Shall Pass.”
At times, my necklace gets me through the really hard stuff, a reminder that I can endure great challenge. If I could survive a 30-hour labor (with 3+ hours of pushing), I remind myself, I can handle anything!
At other times, my necklace reminds me to slow down and appreciate the good in life. I tend to blaze through the day at a typically rapid-ADHD-style pace, so it helps to have a regular reminder literally hitting me in the chest.
In coaching, we call my necklace a “structure,” a concrete reminder that helps me hold on to a perspective. In this case, it reminds me, constantly, to live in gratitude of whatever is happening in my life – even through those “growth opportunities” that I’d rather avoid.
As parents with complex kids, sometimes our roads are really rocky. We’ve all shed our share of tears, broken down when we weren’t sure we could keep going, and allowed fear to create terrible visions for the future. In our “different” world, with constantly shifting expectations and no guarantees, it can be difficult to feel grounded. Most of us are all-too-good at noticing the hard times.
But, what about the good times? Do you find them a challenge to recognize? Are they too often trumped by some compelling reason to be fearful or unhappy? No matter what is going well, we are conditioned to recognize the problems. But here’s an important question: How do you condition yourself to celebrate the successes?
This is a great time of year to search for the positives and celebrate the little victories in our kids’ lives. Just standing on the stage in a choral concert can be a huge success, or maybe standing more still than last year. When we take the time to notice, we can see successes in the small steps – like our kid’s taking pride in a year-end project, or getting up and out one more day when s/he’s REALLY tired of school, or actually studying for a final exam, or committing to a sports team despite the long, grueling hours.
In these little victories, we not only find opportunity to celebrate our child’s growth, and positively reinforce their development, but we also catch glimpses of who they are becoming. I talk to parents every day who are fearful for their child’s future, concerned that their child is going to end up failing at life.
But here’s a really big lesson from the world of ADHD coaching: What we pay attention to grows. When we look for our children’s failures, we will find them in spades. And when we condition ourselves to look for their successes, we can watch their futures unfold in front of us…and it’s a wonderful sight to see.
I invite you to enjoy these final weeks of school, despite all of the obligations and command performances, special projects and endless tournaments. Look for tiny successes, and remember that they are glimmers of possibility. Not only will that help you take the time to focus on the good stuff, but it will help your child see what s/he is capable of doing well. That’s a moment of gratitude worth noting.
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