Thursday, April 4, 2013

Everyone's got something

My son has been in speech therapy on and off since he was just about 3 years old. At first it was for a fairly significant stutter, and that improved. Then it was for sounds, sound blends and everything to do with the letter “s”. He is still part of the speech therapy program at school in grade 2. Speech therapy at a young age is designed as learning through play. I can’t count the number of times I’ve played Snakes and Ladders to promote proper “s” sounds – speech therapy had always been fun.

This year Patrick was resisting going to the speech therapist. He was being pulled out of class, and his friends were asking why. He was embarrassed that sometimes his friends and teachers didn’t understand him, and embarrassed to be pulled out of class. He noticed that he was different from all the other kids and was uncomfortable with this new-found knowledge.

So began the “everyone has something” chats – my way of explaining that no one is perfect and everyone has a challenge that you may or may not know about. We talk about his friend who has diabetes, and how Matt injects many needles a day to keep him healthy. We talk about people who need glasses, wheelchairs, canes and seeing-eye dogs. We talk about friends in his class who have a hard time playing with other kids because they don’t know how to share, or give and take.

And finally we talk about how mommy has bad shoulders and she needs medication and “new shoulders” (joint replacements) to help her out. The theme being that no one is perfect and everyone has something that they are working on. He is working on speech and I am working on my shoulders and that's ok.

I know what my something is. I’m comfortable with it. It’s taken years to come to this place in my life – literally, years. I think it's important for kids to grow up and realize that not everyone is perfect, and everyone struggles with issues - mental, physical, social or economic. I'm hoping that by being more open about my struggles, the kids will be able to come to me with their issues and realize that everyone struggles - and that's ok, it's just part of life. To this end, Pink's "Perfect" has always spoken to me - "you are perfect to me" - I think we all need to remember that more often.

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