Chapter Three-Gaining Perspective One issue At A Time
My brother was born with
brain damage. He did not speak until he was seven. We were extremely close so I chose not to speak either.
We developed between the two us a kind of made up sign language. It worked perfectly.
He understood exactly what I was trying to say, and I completely understood him. It wasn’t
until years later, I realized the extraordinary gift my brother had given me. I could read faces. I used to ask my
friends-what’s wrong? Why are you sad, or scared or worried? And they were so surprised
that I knew what they were feeling, that they’d begin to talk to me.Hence began my mentoring. I
owe that to my brother.
When my brother was born the doctors, back in
1945, told my parents that he would not develop. The damage to the left side of his brain was
too extensive. My parents could make him comfortable, but he would not progress to any great degree.
I cannot write what my father replied- suffice it to say, it was an expletive. We have advanced moons beyond where
neurology, psychiatry and childhood development were back then. We understand so much more now. We
can do so more now. But, for my brother the ‘now’ came too late. No one back then was willing to believe
that he could overcome in spite of his brain damage. No one would listen to me. What
did I know? I was not a professional. I was his younger sister.
My brother is now 65 years old. He is married to a woman who is also mentally
challenged. They take care of each other--18 years of devotion that would put any
‘normal’ relationship to shame,
My parents are no longer
alive. But they left both my brother and me their spirits. My father never believed in the status quo of anything.
And my mother, a creative, shared a wonder and curiosity of all working things. Between
the two of them, we grew up believing in possibilities.
As much as we might now
know about a brain, we still accept that it remains a wondrous mystery. I believe it does because it is deeply affected
by the human spirit. Our human spirit has a profound effect upon our emotional development, cognitive
skills and motivational drive. And so while the doctors said that my brother would never speak, he did eventually
speak. When they said he would never see, he did eventually see. When they said he could
not function on a daily basis, doing simple chores, he was eventually capable of doing all those things and with only half
of his brain in tact. Not only that, my brother has depth, and insight and intelligence. He possesses a keen sense of justice,
is loyal, honest, kind and funny. And if you were to meet him, you would think he was extremely friendly
and courteous. That is my brother-my hero.
I tell you all this by
way of saying, you may or may not have a child who requires a great deal of care and attention, prayers and faith.
But all children will have some issues—it comes with the territory of growing up.
However, and you must trust me on this—what you are seeing at any given moment will
not at all be what you see at the end. And therefore, do not allow yourself to get stuck. It will
be hard sometimes not to. I know. I’ve been there and lived that.
I can now look back—all the way back to growing up with my brother, all the way back to raising my own son who
is now 23, and all the way back to my many mentoring experiences.
we can instill Perspective in our children, we must first have it ourselves. And that is what I am here to do with
you--share my Perspective. While you are filling your child’s backpack with the beginnings of H20,
you’re going to need a map because you will be guiding your child on this journey towards adulthood.
I posted this book as a map of sorts. All of us need someone to say-you are not alone, you will be ok, you are
doing fine, you will get there; it will all be all right in the end
long as we keep moving forward, we will arrive. It may not be the destination we originally sought.
We may have to stop, rest, and recharge, take shelter or change course several times, totally recalculate, but in the
end, we will arrive where we are meant to be. That is the notion we want to instill in our children, as
We are beginning to build emotional resilience with HeartHeart and HumorHumor. We are
now going to introduce Perspective so we build emotional strength.
Grade schoolers, it is we who must first carry Perspective. Their view is still very limited.
Yes, they have their humor filter, but it will take longer before they can change to a larger, wider and longer
lens. So, we must hold the camera for now.
do we first gain some Perspective about our Grade Schoolers? Well, from my experiences with grade
schoolers, most issues have to do with relationships and social behavior. And how can we actually
know how our children are faring in this area?
We can watch them when they invite a friend
over to play.
We can ask another parent whose house they were at how they
We can talk to the teachers at their school?
we can do one other thing. We can actually play detective. I will tell you where, and why this
is so beneficial in helping both you and your child gain Perspective.
Next Installments #12,13,14
Installment #12 #13 #14/Ch 3/Perspective