Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

On Allowing 

Whether we allow it, or not
Life moves through us. 

Events happen. 

We are changed. 

When we cease resisting, we Allow,
and the flow of Life and Change THROUGH us,
is not impeded. 
It does not get stuck
in our muscles and bones. 
It moves. 

We shake and tremble. But we do not stop the flow, 
so it doesn’t stop us. 
This is why we cannot resist sleep.
Our KNOWINGNESS gets us out of the way for a while. 
And sleep is fine. 
So is conscious relaxation into life. 
So is conscious allowing. 
So is conscious accepting.
This is Loving What Is. 
This is Loving Our Selves. 
This is Love. 

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What’s Your Story and How Can You Evolve?

The Kabbalah describes angels as bundles of light, meaning intelligence and consciousness. Kabbalists believe that above every blade of grass is an angel crying “Grow! Grow!”  I believe that above the entire human race is one super-angel, crying “Evolve! Evolve!”

Steven Pressfield in The War of Art

In captivity, a baby elephant is tied to a post with a rope. No matter how he pulls, he cannot get free. When the elephant matures, putting a rope around his leg will keep him in place. Even though he could easily free himself, he does not. He has long-since resigned himself to the all-powerfulness of the rope.

This limiting belief about his own strength was programmed in his youth. It keeps the adult elephant tethered and docile.

People too are programmed early in life. We get so accustomed to living our stories that soon we don’t realize that we are now all grown up and can break that rope and live free.

What story are you telling ? What is the story teaching your child? Do you see autism as a curse? Can you see it as a gift?

Two Natures of Human Existance

Throughout history, people have noted two natures of human existence:

1.    Static

2.    Dynamic

1. History Repeats Itself

Static stories are based on predictable, repeating patterns in nature.  The static nature of our existence is symbolized by the circle or the ouroboros and illustrated in the changing seasons and the path of the Earth around the sun.

This is the pattern we see in our families.

“He’s just like my father,  jumping all over the place.  He just can’t sit still.”

“My family has a history of depression…”  or lying, or abandoning people, or being left-handed.

2. LifeSpiral2Evolution

Dynamic stories demonstrate progress based on evolution and learning. Human behavior changes dramatically when people encounter new information and experiences.

The dynamic nature of our existence is symbolized by arrow or a zooming rocket.

Predictable Cycles and Dramatic Leaps Occur Simultaneously

People who live close to the land survive by living in harmony with nature. Progress is not required.

Those in the modern world are preoccupied with progress.

“Unfortunately, the glamour of technology has eclipsed humanity’s connection with Nature, and the pursuit of technological advancement has contributed to disharmony, imbalance, and global crisis.” (Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman in Spontaneous Evolutionp. 46.)

Lipton and Bhaerman say that uniting the principles of harmony and balance with the principles of technological evolution leads to a self-sustaining and thriving civilization symbolized by a universe-friendly spiral of evolution.

The spiral is also the symbol of the Wise Woman tradition.

A spiral always returns to itself, but never repeats. “Spirals remind us that live is movement, that each moment is unique, and that form is the essence of transformation.” (Susun Weed in Healing Wise, p. 11.)

Jump Off the Hamster Wheel and Evolve

Two hundred species a day die to support human existence. This matters because we are not separate from non-human life on Earth. We are part of it.

Since the time of the Fertile Crescent, we have been shifting away from balance and harmony. Our way of life is not sustainable.

Our children are experiencing life on Earth differently from us to show us that humanity’s way of life must change if we are to survive.

(To read much more about this, please see the work of Daniel Quinn.)

When you find yourself on a vicious cycle, for goodness sakes, stop peddling!
~ Swami Beyondananda (Spontaneous Evolution, p. 85)

What we must have – and nothing less – is a whole world full of people with changed minds.
~ Daniel Quinn (If They Give You Lined Paper Write Sideways, p. 180)

Just as the people of the Middle Ages could not have predicted the Renaissance, we cannot envision what the change that sustains the world will ultimately look like. We do know that we must return to living harmony with all creation.

The founding slogan of the United States is “out of many, one.” Let us watch our children. Let’s learn from them — and evolve.

You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
~ Khalil Gibran (The Prophet, On Children)

Everything will change when your desire to move on exceeds your desire to hold on.
~ Alan Cohen

References

Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future (and a Way to Get There from Here)
If They Give You Lined Paper, Write Sideways.
Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series)

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Beyond Labels: Lessons from Autism and Parenting

When I started blogging, I thought my topic would be autistic and neurodivergent children and their mothers.  The more I wrote, the more challenging it became to work the words autism and autistic into the text. Writing “autistic child” felt forced.  Why? I wondered.

I realized that I don’t relate to the term “autism mother” and everything I write applies to all of my children – not just to my autistic son. It is not because he is not special, but because they all are. We all are.

I could write about IEPs and the gluten free diet and innovative therapies for autistic children.  But there are already many blogs, newsletters, books and magazines on these topics.  They are being done well by other people.

I find myself sharing wisdom imbued in me by my children.  I write about what I’ve learned along the way that has made our lives healthier, easier and happier in the hope that you will benefit.

The word autism turned my world upside down and inside out.  I would not be who I am without it. I am also ready to move beyond the label. What do you think?  I’d really love to hear your thoughts on labels in the comment boxes below.

Beyond the Label:  Lessons from Autism

Only one of my children is diagnosable and sports a recognizable label:  autism. When I think about him, I do not think, “My autistic child.”  I think of him as Daniel. I think of my quirky daughter as Ellana and my intensely principled son as Jonathon. I see each as a uniquely magnificent individual.  All three are beyond labeling or categorizing.  There is no normal in my house.

What is normal?

Synonyms for normal include:

·         typical

·         average

·         unsurprising

·         ordinary

·         common

Would you like to eat a common chocolate, drink an unremarkable wine, drive an average car, or take an ordinary vacation? Might you prefer chocolate that is uncommonly delicious, a wine that is remarkably silky, a car that offers a surprisingly refined ride, and an extraordinary vacation?

Why then are typical, ordinary, normal children seen as ideal? We don’t hunger for mediocrity in other aspects of life, yet we yearn for uneventful meals, ordinary nights and unremarkable parent-teacher conferences.

We are burdened by the notion that children should be a certain way.  That life should be a certain way.

How They Should Be, How They Are

Most people, either consciously or unconsciously, expect their children will be like them.  Fathers place tiny, spongy footballs in the cribs of their infant sons in loving anticipation of lives of athletic stardom.  Mothers play classical music for babies and take toddlers to Kindermusik to develop well-rounded, cultured children.  Grandmothers study little faces to see who the which family members the babies look like.

All of this usually comes from a place of love for the child and delight at the prospect of another chance at life.
But then something happens.  The future athlete can’t learn to ride a bike or pay attention to directions.  He certainly can’t throw or catch the ball.  The upcoming Miss Charming throws spectacular tantrums and refuses to listen to music.
Teachers and doctors and specialists say its autism or some other dis-order and the parents’ world turns upside down.

What’s in a name?

. . . language is entirely symbolic.  Words aren’t real.  They’re simply scribbles, doodles and sounds to which we assign meanings stored in the brain as images, feelings, and sounds:  mental constructs only vaguely approximating the objects they represent.   We use words to manipulate the mental representations, rarely scrutinizing our constructs under the light of physical reality.

–From Mark Rostenko’s article The Unnamed in Obscurious Moo
At first, the label is a lifeline.  It explains why our children are the way they are.  The words give us something to research:  autism, PDD-NOS, ADHD, sensory integration disorder, reactive detachment disorder.  The words connect us to others like us and are a way to find information.

Eventually though, we realize that our child’s -ism or disorder is not exactly like that of other children.  His or her most triggering behaviors and traits AND most endearing ones are quite unique.

Some suggestions about his or her condition are right on.  Others don’t work at all.

None of us fits neatly into a box.
We are all alike.  We are also all different.

Play a Game

When looking at your child’s differences or noticing people who seem entirely unlike you, play a game.  Say,“Just like me, this person….”

Notice the ways we are all connected. Notice  the ways we are uniquely magnificent.

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Valentine’s Day? Bah, Humbug!

It is February 13, and, yet again, I have not bought those silly, pre-printed Valentines. When my children were in elementary school, I did buy them. It was required.

I’d watch other children walk to school clutching red-heart-decorated shoe and boot boxes to collect the cards and treats. I  supervised reluctant card-signing.

Phony Baloney

Saint Valentine’s Day is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs (none of whom are known for love or romance). It was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was deleted from the General Roman Calendar in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.

The roots of St. Valentine’s Day may lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated February 13 – 15. Priests of the festival whipped bystanders.  Being touched by the whip was supposed to increase fertility in women.

What exactly are we celebrating?

I understand that contemporary Valentine’s celebrations in school are not about Christian saints or Roman holidays.  I understand (sort-of) that they are supposed to be fun. But what are we teaching? How do children who are socially inept, bullied, or shy experience this holiday?

Same, Same!  Cards for Everybody!

Children are required to give a card to each child in their class, so that no one feels left out. But kids know who likes them and who doesn’t. They know whom they like. They know when they are giving cards because they have to, versus giving cards they want to.

Teaching children to be kind and considerate to all of their classmates is a valuable lesson.  Teaching them to treat everyone the same, is not.

All children do not all wish to be treated the same. When sad, one child might like a hug, another to talk it out, a third would prefer to be left alone. Some children show their excitement with high-fives and shouts, others flick their fingers or flap their hands.

And a Little Red Dye #40

Almost half of my children’s classrooms have been peanut free. One was latex free. Our homeschool group avoided eggs because one family had life-threatening allergies. But artificial colors and flavors have been allowed in all classrooms. (Except at the Waldorf school. But that’s a separate, otherwise awful story.)

The UK banned artificial food dyes in 2008 after a study suggested they are related to hyperactive behavior in children. The UK demands that manufacturers use natural colors and flavors and US companies use natural products in the UK — while continuing to use artificial dyes in the products sold in the US.  (Learn more from Deborah Merlin, author of Victory over ADHD.)

My daughter was severely affected by red food coloring as a child.  Now, she avoids fake-red foods saying, “It makes me crazy.”

Bah, Humbug!

hum·bug

[huhm-buhg] interjection, noun
1.  something intended to delude or deceive.
4.   something devoid of sense or meaning; nonsense
  • I wonder what would happen if, in lieu of pre-printed, generic cards, we asked each child to think of one thing they admire about each classmate.
  • I wonder if the children would be surprised to discover that there really is something good about every person in the room, even in those children they don’t like.
  • I wonder how it would feel to receive 20-some pieces of paper that showed us the wonderfulness our classmates found in us.

What would you have the schools do in place of the humbug that is Valentine’s Day?

Note: 

I am now homeschooling my only remaining elementary school-aged child and am thrilled to announce that I did not buy cards or candy for Valentine’s Day this year.

 

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My Kind of Presence

“Children need us to be present.” I’ve read it in a hundred books and articles. I’ve probably written it myself.

When my children urgently, intensely need me, I can be present. When they are hurt physically or emotionally, I am 100% there. When they hug me, I’m there. During choir concerts, band performances, and karate tests, I watch and feel my heart swell with joy.

But when it comes to helping with homework or playing a game, watching karate practice or swimming lessons, my attention wanes.  No matter how actively I try to give the activity my full attention, half of my brain disengages.

Noticing What Works for Me

When I am talking on the phone, I iron or fold laundry.  If I am listening to a lecture, I take notes or scribble something unrelated.  When I drive, I listen to books on tape. My best ideas often show up when I’m not thinking.

For a long time, I tried to make myself pay attention to just one thing: smell and taste the food when I’m eating; focus on clothing while I iron; listen when people talk.

I was certain that was the right way to do things.  Everyone said so.

But that kind of presence didn’t work for me.  I gobbled food to finish eating as quickly as possible.  I left baskets of clothes unfolded.  My attention wandered when people talked.

One day, I acknowledged what I had known for years: I listen better when I’m doing something else.

Allowing My Children to Determine What Works for Them

An  article in the Wall Street Journal by Amy Chua titled Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior stirred up an avalanche of responses.  The most egregious aspect of the article was that Chua’s daughters had to do what she demanded, when and how she required.

I do not believe in parenting by total non-interference.  Parents are parents because children need guidance. When parents teach and support in a gentle, loving manner, children may benefit from our accumulated wisdom.  We show them how to navigate life on Earth.

Children also benefit from figuring out how to do things their own way. We can help our children to notice things about themselves by telling them what we observe.

  • “I see that your eyes are starting to close.”
  • “Sometimes you get cranky when you’re hungry. Have you noticed any signs that you need to eat soon?”
  • “You seem so excited about drama!”
  • “Tying your shoes is frustrating. Would you like me to show you a different way to tie?”

Let’s encourage our children to discover what works for them.

Let them discover their own how. Allow them to trust their own experience and knowing.

We can learn from our children how to support them and how to honor our own needs.

Need helping shifting your ideas about how things should be?  Consider shifting your beliefs with Matrix Reimprinting.

Does your child do something his or her own way? Do you? Please share in the comments below.

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Work in Progress

Thirteen years ago, my mother-hero’s journey began. My almost-three-year old’s teacher stopped me at the door. “We’d like to have someone from special ed come in and observe Ellana. She’s not like the other children.” My heart raced. My world whirled. Hours passed and I began to assemble the teacher’s words into meaning. She thought something was wrong with Ellana. I wept. I raged. I decided that Mrs. Francis was wrong. I refused the call to adventure. I rejected the labels the teacher and observer wanted to associate with my beautiful, brilliant girl.

Twelve years ago, I acknowledged that my child was very different from the other preschoolers and accepted the challenge to be the kind of parent (I thought) she needed. I decided to overcome the autism spectrumy thing. I donned my battle gear. I read, researched, and planned. I drove my daughter to therapy appointments and sampled treatments and therapies of many flavors. I had a goal. I would help her to modulate odd behaviors and acclimate to the ordinary world. I would fix the glitches in her system. I would make my child normal.

Eleven years ago, when my second child was two, he was evaluated and given an autism diagnosis. While Ellana’s way of being defied labeling, Daniel had never spoken a word. He pressed the buttons on his toys repeatedly. He flicked his hands in front of his face. He was happy, affectionate, intelligent, and obviously autistic.

Nine years ago, my first grader was in her fifth school in five years, and we were asked to withdraw midyear.  I plunged into the abyss. Amidst deep, dark despair, I experienced moment of insight: I would teach my daughter at home.

After five years of homeschooling, after much yelling, crying, and foot stomping from mother and child, revelation dawned: I did not need to fix my daughter or her brothers. They were not, and never had been, broken. None of them resembled the children I had envisioned, but they were perfectly themselves, and I loved them, no changing required.

Four years ago, my three children went to school. For the first time in eleven years, I was home alone during the day, so I decided to write a book. I interviewed mothers of autistic children and wrote about the transformative power of our parenting journeys. I was healed and enlightened. I recognized my children’s inherent awesomeness. Life was easy and good. And we lived happily ever after.

~ The End ~

Cue the laugh track. While the above is an accurate, though drastically abbreviated, telling of my parenting experience (the whole is here), and though I did feel as if my mother-hero’s journey had come to a natural conclusion, I relaxed on my (virtual) lounge chair on the beach, margarita in hand, rather briefly. The end was not The End, but a curve in the spiral of life, circling into another loop of The Journey. I had arrived . . . somewhere, yet felt more unmoored than ever.

 

Mother,
      a small BIG word, 
       gave my life purpose and meaning.

It was I,
         who knew what my children required.
It was I,
         who fed and healed.
It was I,
         who soothed and strengthened.

I was
     needed,
     heeded,
     indispensable.

Until I was not,
             not needed to fix, for they were not broken,
             not heeded, for they invoked their own wisdom,
             not indispensable, for they were competent and complete.

Mother,
      a BIG small role,
      forged the woman I am today.

It is I,
       who practice non-interference.
It is I,
       who aim to advise less and listen more.
It is I,
       who teach and support.

I was
     heated,
      hammered,
        beaten into shape.

Until I became,
               cool and unrestricted, flowing like water,
               expansive and pliable, open to constant change,
               sovereign and free.

Thirteen years into the journey, I am trying to not try to figure out a new purpose for being, striving to adjust to the flow of life’s currents, and learning to thrive in this uncertain space. I do not remember what I know every day. I relearn lessons I previously mastered. I slip, stumble, and fall. I notice twists, hills, and valleys on own journey honor the journeys of those around me.

I know that in every moment, we are all flawed, and we are all stunningly beautiful. All is perfect, even when it does not seem that way. Everything is in creation. I am a work in progress.

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How can I follow my heart when all it wants to do is sleep?

This year, one of my (few!) intentions is to listen to my heart and to obey my inner wisdom.  I know, I know:  cliché, blasé. I’m doing it anyway. I’ve realized that all of “secret to happiness” books say the same thing because it really is that simple.

Yet only one month into the New Year, I’ve  encountered an obstacle.  My heart just wants to sleep. A lot.

I like to write at night and nap a bit during the day. Yesterday, I dropped into bed for my siesta late in the day and severely over-tired.  When I woke after an hour’s sleep, I did not want to get up.

I pulled the covers around me and asked myself, “What feels good right now?”  Yeah.  Ask a drowsy body that.  My body begged for 15 more minutes. I closed my eyes and drifted off to that lovely space between sleep and waking.  (I could stay there forever.)  When I woke for the second (or was it the third?  fourth?! time), through the fog and delight of that in-between place, I asked my heart again, “What feels good right now?” Again, I heard the yearning for continued sleep.  Then, through the haze, I perceived something else. A question:  “Which feels better? What do you want more? 30 minutes in la-la land or a strong healthy body?” (I had been so tired that I lay down before exercising.) “Which do you want more? 30 minutes of sleep — or to write a few more pages of the book?”

Ah!  The always-insightful heart-wisdom pulled me to half-awake.  It knew that even though I had to drag myself out of bed and even though I hated putting on my gym shoes, in a few months I would feel magnificent if I did this today — and tomorrow, and the day after.

When we ask our heart a question, listening intently will reveal the true response.

Sometimes, the first response comes from a place that is not our heart. My heart-wisdom does not have a whiny and pathetic voice.  It’s timbre is strong and, usually, gentle.

When I ask my heart a question and am not sure who or what responded, I ask:  “Who is speaking?”  Whether it is my ego or my heart, it must answer truthfully.

Listening to Heart-Wisdom in Parenting

All children, and particularly uniquely magnificent children, those who are autistic, ADHD, indigo or exceptionally challenging in some way, require a lot of real work from their parents.  We do the physical things:  prepare meals, launder clothing, read with them, drive them to lessons and appointments.  We are called upon to be patient and kind and loving — often when our children’s behavior does not automatically elicit gentle responses.  We do a hundred things every day to be the kind of parents we choose to be.

Each day, both in parenting and in self-care, we are presented with opportunities to live from our heart.  I often ask myself, “How can this be easy?” or “What feels good?” My first response is usually right on. However, sometimes what feels good in the moment – and usually only for that moment — would not make me feel good overall.

The energy release of slapping a defiant child might feel wonderful in the doing — particularly if you have been doing patient and loving for 30 minutes and the defiance shows no sign of yielding. But the second after the slap, the feeling of relief flips to shame and disappointment in self and to sadness for the child.  We wonder, “Why does it have to be so hard?”  (What happened to easy?)

Accessing Heart Wisdom

Here is a simple and effective way to calm yourself and access heart wisdom.

1.       Place your hand on your heart.

2.       Breathe into your heart for a count of six.

3.       Breathe out of your heart for a count of six.

4.       Continue until you feel centered and congruent with your heart.

If you are using this exercise for calming, stop here.  To access heart wisdom, continue.

5.       Ask your heart a question.  If you want to know something but aren’t sure how to phrase it, ask, “What do I need to know right now?”

6.       Listen.

Preventative Maintenance

Do the above exercise daily – or hourly – to keep yourself healthy mentally, emotionally and physically.

An Invitation

Won’t you join me in listening to your heart-wisdom?  A group of mothers and I gather by phone or Skype for a few weeks and learn to change ourselves.  Peace in our homes begins with us.

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11/11 Gateway to Easier, Happier Mothering

11/11. The ones of today’s date seem to create gates.

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if we could step through a gateway to an easier, more joyful life with our children?
  • Wouldn’t it be nice if today were the day to take this step?
Whether your are reading this on November 11 or on a day with no elevens in the number at all, consider that today can be the day. Read on for some ideas for stepping into easier, happier living.

Reaching for “A Little Better”

Are you content with life? How do you see your children today? How do you feel?

Esther and Jerry Hicks created an Emotional Guidance Scale  that helps us move from feeling bad to feeling better about whatever we are experiencing.

In looking at the chart, most of us yearn to be at the top, in the purple zone. Even the blue and green areas look good. We want to feel hopeful and happy and to appreciate our children and our lives.  However, if we are currently in the gray or burgundy zones of guilt or grief or despair, the leap to joy seems inconceivable.

Instead of aiming for giant leaps, it is usually easiest and most productive to move through one gateway at a time. Sometimes, we simply step through. At other times, we must knock and a door will open. Once in a while, we need a battering ram.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice?

One way to move up a level its to find something — anything — that feels good about the current situation.
  • In the midst of a tantrum, consider finding something good. “My child is safe. I am staying calm and looking for a good way to handle this moment.”
  • When you child struggles to communicate, consider, “We have wonderful speech therapists. Look how she tries to show  me what she wants!”
  • As your child insists on the thousandth meal of the same food, think, “It is so easy to feed him. I know what he wants.”

Celebrate Success, Celebrate Yourself and Your Child

Every step is one that brings you closer to the Joy Zone. Anger and rage may not, by conventional standards, seem like a good thing. But anger and rage let you know that your do not feel powerless. You are moving closer to hopefulness and joy.

Tools for the Journey

Please browse the blog archives for tips for really easy ways to support you as you step through each level.
Consider exploring:

Next time you see 11:11 on the clock, take a deep breath and think of one thing that feels good about that moment. Every good feeling that you focus on will bring you closer to more experiences that feel good.

 

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Autism Awareness Flight (1)

This post is brought to you from 30,000 feet in the air, from Phoenix to Detroit. As I look at my fellow passengers, I see people napping, reading, chatting, working. In three hours, we will have traversed most of the country.  Yet no one seems astounded by the magic that we are experiencing, sitting in cushioned seats flying through the air. Just as few seem to perceive the magic that is present in today’s children.

Mountains and Red Earth

We’ve been in the air less than 20 minutes. Already the landscape has changed from mountains to green valleys to flat red Earth. In the distance, I see smoke as some part of the Earth transforms from wooded to charred. Below me, I see vast spans of almost-untouched Earth.  Narrow roads wind through the red plain, but there are no farms, few buildings. Newly alert after my time in Sedona, I take in the majesty of our Planet. And I wonder what I missed all those times I boarded a plane and fell asleep before the plane even took off. I wonder too what I missed while I was worrying about labels and growth charts and milestones. What miracles were unfolding while I was analyzing child development charts and evaluating information from books?

Gorges, Canyons and More Mountains

Out my airplane window, I see deep gouges in the Earth. There was a time when I would have wanted to know the name of these formations and what geological events were responsible for this dramatic design on the Earth. Now, I am content to gasp in wonder, to look. There was a time when I wanted a name for what was going on with my children. Now I am content to be dazzled by their brilliance without understanding every reason for how and why they are the way they are.

My Version of Autism Awareness

I don’t need to label what I see out my window. I don’t need to label children or people. My practice of autism awareness is to honor magnificently unique people in all their expressions.

Clouds

We are flying over a thick layer of clouds. Of course, there are countless creations of Nature and Humanity below, even though I do not see them. There is much talk in some parts of the autism world of children in shells, children to be recovered. This is not my perception. Perhaps there are simply clouds obstructing our view. Clouds have purpose, function, and beauty. Clouds move and change. Some of the clouds are in our eyes.

Farms between the Clouds

There is space between the clouds. The ground below me is divided into astonishingly precise squares. Every inch, as far as I can see has been conquered by humans. Some of my family’s food is probably grown here. For this I am grateful. Yet as I gaze at the grid below, I find myself overcome with sadness as I consider: What have we done? What are we doing? Is the world ours to conquer, to plow and poison and fertilize into submission? Are our children ours, to bend to our wills and our visions for them? This post has gotten long, so I will tell you about the remainder of this flight in Autism Awareness Flight (2).

 

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The Amazingness of Atypicalness in the Age of Half-Bloods, Wizards and Magical Creatures

All around the world, influenced by brilliant stories from gifted authors, children who thought they were different in a bad way are discovering that they are, in fact, different in a magnificent way.

  • Harry Potter thinks there is something wrong with him because his family forces him to live in the cupboard under the stairs.  Plus, he “makes things happen” and can talk to snakes.
  • Percy Jackson has profound ADHD and dyslexia.  He’s so “bad” that he has never been able to attend the same school two years in a row.
  • Elissa is being raised by an old woman as a servant in a castle and knows only that her mother is dead.  Yet, she is the daughter of a king and deeply connected to the Earth by her magical powers.
  • Aang is the last of his kind.  He is the only person left on the planet with the ability to bend air.

At the heart of every myth and legend lies a grain of truth.

Grain:  The smallest possible amount of anything, a small, hard seed – the essence, crux, heart, significance, or soul of the matter.

How do the stories of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Elissa and Aang reflect what is going on with our real, uniquely magnificent children?

It is neither surprising nor coincidence that there so many hugely popular books and movies about magical children have been produced in the past two decades.  This is the same time span during which magical children began appearing on Earth in large numbers.

Many of today’s children are called indigo, crysal or rainbow, autistic, ADHD, atypical or neurodivergent. They probably arrived via quite-ordinary birth.  But those who are paying attention see clearly that there is something different about our children.  Some want to call the differentness disorder or disability. I call it magic.

Learning from the Magical Heroes

Each of the characters mentioned above must find his or her own way for the old ways no longer work.  The premises have changed.  Their perceptions of themselves have been turned upside down.

Harry must shift his perspective from the Muggle to the Magical World.  Percy has to embrace his god-nature.  Elissa, a humble girl who knew her own mind even if she did not always choose to speak it, embraces her mission and taps into powers she had not realized she possessed.  Aang, at only 11 years old, must restore balance in the world.

As our heroes become attuned to their powers, they realize that with great power comes great responsibility.  This can be a heavy burden for a child or teenager to carry.  Our heroes waver, err, and complain, but they stay true to their calling.

In each of the books of the Harry Potter series, the Percy Jackson Series, the Phoenix Rising Trilogy (Elissa’s story) and the Avatar:  The Last Airbender Saga (Aang’s story), it is not only the hero who is magical.  Friends and enemies have magical powers too.  Our heroes do not possess unique gifts.  They possess gifts that are available to many.

As we notice our children’s gifts and talents, it is useful to consider:

  • What are my gifts and talents?
  • What can I do differently than I have always done it until now?
  • Am I working from an obscured premise?

Parenting the Heroes

In many fictional accounts, the heroes’ parents are conveniently missing. Harry’s parents are dead.  Percy’s mother, fully human, is not allowed at Camp Halfblood and his father, a god, does not have time for his half-human children.  Elissa’s mother is dead and her father is missing.  Aang’s parents have been dead for almost a century.

For those of us parenting magical children, there is no hint in these books of what the children might need from us.  We are left with a bit of insight into the children, but with no new information on what is required of us.

You must get used to the fact that there are many things in magic which are not and never will be explained. God decided to do certain things in a certain way and why He did this is a secret known only to Him.”  (Paulo Coelho in Brida.)

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

“May your path be one of peace in times of peace, and of combat in times of combat.  Never confuse one with the other.”  (Paulo Coelho in Brida.)

Again and again we are presented the lesson that there is nothing to do but carry on, taking one step and one second at a time, learning what we can when we can, being willing to walk in the dark.  Without a roadmap or a manual, we learn to listen and watch our children and our hearts.  We figure out a way to make it through each day.

I love listening to podcasts. Here’s a good one about being your true self.

 

In Autistic Hermione Thoughts, autistic blogger Alyssa of Yes, That Too, writes about reading Hermione as an autistic person.

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