Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Do you REALLY believe?

Do we really believe in our children the way we say we do? Or do our actions really prove that belief?

Isnt it always true, what our mommies, daddies, aunts, uncles, grandparents, sunday school teachers..pretty much anyone and everyone.

Our ACTIONS speak louder than words!!

At the age of 3 Toby was barely walking. He would take some steps with his walker here and there, but still loved crawling and I sure didnt mind him being happy. If anyone had asked me I would have said, my child will walk someday, my child has the strength to walk, I believe in his ability. The key word for me was...Someday. (spina bifida is always a waiting game anyway right?)
I would take his walker with us to the store, but then leave it in the car for the rest of the afternoon. I would work with him one evening diligently but then the next three never even ask him to take a step. At the age of three Toby was not walking and even though I believed, I had faith, I knew oneday...My ACTIONS were speaking much louder than my words.
I enabled Toby from the age of 2 - 3 to be free to crawl around, free to play how he wanted to, free to just be a kid. (which granted are all great things) But at the same time I rarely pushed him to push harder to work more to grow stronger. With my actions I was teaching him how little my faith was, how small my belief was and really how unimportant it really was.
Now, honestly, this is a bummer post to write. Id like to consider myself The mom who works her butt off, the mom who tries it all, fights for her child and never gives up. But from age 2 to 3. I had given up. I hadnt really fought. We had a therapist I was comfortable with. She wasnt really pushing Toby, but I was comfortable with her. She didnt push me to do much more either. I was content with my little faith and my small belief.
Then Toby turned 3. He got to old for his current therapy program and we got Todd (a new therapist) And then I had the meeting with our Ortho. He said, "If he doesnt walk soon. He wont walk." Catch that. My little belief of someday was getting challenged and smacked down. "If he doesn't walk soon. He wont walk." Thats when the rubber met the road. Todd showed me that therapy doesnt just happen at the office. I cant pretend to be the mommy who pushes her child and believes in all the incredible things he can do. I cant just talk the talk. I have to walk the walk..not even just walk but RUN!I had to drag that walker everywhere. I had to make a 2 minute walk in a parking lot a 10 minute walk. I had to look the other way when Toby wanted my help. I had to show Toby my belief. I had to show him my faith. The way I did that was by pushing. I had to hear him cry about his walker. I had to watch him struggle to get used to playing without crawling around. You know though, everytime it worked, my faith grew. My small belief began to grow and it gave me true strong belief. It was hard to sit back and realize how much I enabled his dependence on me. How I enabled him to crawl up until the age of 3. Its hard to sit here and admit that to all of you, but its true.

I share this with you as an encouragement..hopefully. Are you the mommy pushing the toy closer to your child? Are you the mommy holding the bottle or sippy cup still? Are you the mommy keeping the walker in the side room or not wanting to strap those stinkin braces on one more time? Is it hard? absolutely!!! Does it hurt? 100%!! Is it totally and completely worth it to show your child how much you believe in him/her? I have absolutely no doubt.

Now dont get me wrong. There are times and places and days for all of these pushes. Toby knows how to unbuckle his seat belt, but somedays I still do it for him, just cause I'm his mommy and I can. Not every moment is a pushing moment.

But maybe just time when you are tempted to leave that walker put or take your big toe and push the toy a little closer...Maybe you'll think twice. Because I dont know about you..I want to ALWAYS show Toby how BIG my faith is and huge my belief is!!


Racerjack said...

Great post. You are now getting that you can't do everything or even most things that will take him longer to do, just because it is easier for you, not really for him. Striving to help him when you must, but let him when he needs to learn how to do it, will go a long way in his being as independent as he can be. He will struggle , as we all do, but at his early age, with your rewarding him with praise when he tries, and when he succeeds, will go a long way in his trying more and more things. If he fails, look at why with him, let him figure out why if possible, make suggestions on what he can change to do it, or help modify it for him. He needs success at times, but there is nothing wrong with failure. It is "not trying" that you need to monitor. "Getting involved" in activities, at any level, is what you want to strive for. You can set baselines for almost anything, and point out his improvement, or personal records, at every step of the way. Kids get discouraged when they aren't first or are last in many things. But point out that it is the fact they are trying their best and setting new personal records that will go a long way in them wanting to do more. Let him set some goals for himself as he gets older. They will live with the outcomes if they know they tried their best. And they will gain the respect from others in trying. They will learn so much about their abilities, not their disability. Get him involved in any interests he shows and let him try it until something else comes along. Make him finish something till the end of the season, if he starts it and it is a team sport. Support his efforts. Let him advocate for himself when it is needed. Give him your unconditional love, as you have.
It is tough to watch them fail, but we all do at some point. But if they never try, they won't get anywhere. It is all in the first step. Look where he is today. You are doing a great job. No one has a manual on this, just do the best you can and don't beat yourself up over it. Your a great mom. Enjoy the blessings you have.

The Forest Minstrel said...

It's hard, relying on God to help when we're right there and WE can do the job FOR Him (after all, He's SO busy and it would be SO MUCH easier to just help). Following Paul's words to "show my faith BY my works" is not an easy thing. Especially when those works require us to sit on our hands and bite our lip. It's a learning process, for you just as much as your son, but he learns FROM you, Momma. Don't beat yourself up when your faith shrinks from time to time, God understands and Toby will get it one day. God hears the prayer, "Lord I believe, help Thou mine unbelief" any time and every time we need to pray it. (and I do think this post will be an inspiration, especially to someone *I* know who hates putting the braces on her son.) Keep doing the wonderful job you are and we'll keep praying for God to increase your trust and faith in Him.

Lisa said...

Great post! I struggle with the same thing, sometimes. A couple of falls have shaken my confidence, and we went from walking a lot to walking a lot less. I have to push him to walk more and reach his potential, before it is too late. Thanks for sharing!

The Dugan's said...

I totally needed this couldn't have come at a better time! Thank you for sharing!