Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sharing my recent Breakthrough as a Parent

"Gifted children often do not respond to the types of parenting techniques that  neurotypical children do."

I read this line yesterday from one of the articles in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF) Facebook Page entitled Diagnosis: Gifted.  I was comforted and relieved somehow to read this line; for I had been challenged in the past years parenting my now four year old who has been consistently assessed by his developmental pediatrician in the past years to be potentially gifted.  It helps to be reminded of this fact especially on challenging days at home.
 
I'm blessed to have discovered the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum through the internet.  I have been reading their resources and I'm learning a lot, not just about my son but also about myself.  I think one of my most recent blessings through this group came when I asked a question in the yahoo groups of GHF last March 15, 2013.  I was surprised and (positively) overwhelmed by the support and inputs shared by the members as a response to my question and my concern about teaching my eldest son the virtue of obedience.  I still have much to learn, much to read (books on parenting gifted children) and try other ways to teach him this virtue.  But I'm so glad I asked my question out of my desperation because it led me to find people who undertands what I'm going through as a parent of a gifted child.
 
I was comforted when most of them said that being strong-willed, not obeying right away, negotiations here and there or challenging things/people is common in gifted children and that gifted kids eventually become more cooperative and obedient as they grow older and mature.  I was happy to be reminded that these traits in gifted kids are strengths as well when used in the right place and time and when kids learn to argue or express themselves respectfully.
 
I've been pondering these things in my heart since then and been reading as much material on giftedness as I could.  I was desperate and I really wanted to understand my son better and have a better relationship with him.
 
Then, I saw this picture posted in GHF in Facebook.  It caught my attention.  I know that my eldest son is different from most children I know in my circle.  He behaves differently.  Does it mean that he needs to be fixed?
 
 

I carried this thought in my mind and heart until my husband and I attended a two-day Holy Week Retreat.  God spoke powerfully to me through our retreat master (lay preacher and best selling author), Brother Bo Sanchez.  He discussed, in one of his talks, the anatomy of a breakthrough.
 
He said that a breakthrough has 3 parts:
 
1. Humiliation - He said that humiliation is the birthplace of a breakthrough. One needs to experience this to get to the point of desperation.  I went through that.  I was at a loss on what else to do to manage our eldest son's behavior.
 
2. Hope - He said that we need to believe that God has a better plan for our lives.  When he hope, we move closer to our breakthrough instead of simply breaking down.
 
3. Humility - The third part he said is seeking wisdom and doing things we've never done before.  In my case, I went out of my current circle and searched for people who can understand more my challenges in raising a gifted child.  I have never shared in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum before my March 15 post. 
 
I was desperate for answers and support in being a parent of a gifted child.  I humbled myself and acknowledged that I'm searching for answers and I have not figured him out.  I recognized my struggle to understand how God has made him.
 
On the second day of our retreat, Brother Bo talked about our inner movies.  He said that if we really want changes in our lives, we have to change our inner movies.  Last night, my husband and I talked about our son and he reminded me that maybe I need to change my inner movie about my son so that I would not be struggling so much in parenting him. 
 
The teachings in our retreat and my discussion with my husband led me to remember the picture posted in the Facebook Page of GHF about being different.  I felt God telling me to recognize everything that makes him beautifully different from typical kids and to embrace my son's traits completely.
 
I was also reminded of the other things preached by Brother Bo at the Grand Easter Celebration of our community. 

He said:

"We love to fix things.  But we can't fix people.  We should not attempt to fix people because we can't.  We'll simply end up frustrated.  There are even things that we can't fix." 

Then, he shared about his current difficulty -- his aging mom who is now bedridden.  With much emotion, he said, "I can't fix old age."
 
What he said are true. 
 
I thank God for reminding me how uniquely different and beautiful my eldest son is and that I should not attempt to fix him.  I'm changing my inner movie so I can behave and respond differently to my son's behaviors that challenge me as a parent.

 
During the retreat, we were invited to pray big prayers to God.  One of my big prayers is that I'd be able to understand and embrace my son's giftedness so much that I will not only have a great relationship with him but I will also become an advocate/champion for gifted parents and children in the Philippines.  I have actually emailed the Philippine Center for Gifted Education, Inc. before Holy Week to ask if they already have support groups for parents of gifted children because I want to be part of one.  I have yet to get an answer from them.  My husband suggested that I volunteer to help them organize if they have not organized one yet.  I'm seriuosly considering his suggestion.

Here's a worship song with the same title as our Holy Week Retreat.


 
 

Let me end this post by sharing how God gave me so much hope and joy on Easter Sunday.
 
More than a year ago, my family and I attended The Feast (our community's weekly prayer meeting) in PICC.  My eldest was almost 3 years old then.  The worship was led by a young preacher who was leading the singing by playing his guitar as well.  That scene had an impact on my eldest son because his favorite musician at that time was Tommy Walker.  At that time, my eldest son loved watching Tommy Walker's videos over and over especially the video where Tommy Walker plays his guitar with a strap while leading worship and singing Only a God Like You.  When my son saw the young man on the stage with a guitar leading worship, he got so excited.  He rushed to side of the balcony, pressed his face on the glass and watched with awe (mouth open) as the young man on stage sang his heart out in worship.  Then he said to me, "Mommy, when I'm bigger, I'll be on that stage too leading worship and playing my guitar just like Tommy Walker in the video."
 
video
 
 
I almost forgot that incident.  Maybe I had been focused more in my difficulties with his ways (hyperactivity, insatiable curiosity, intensity, oversensitivity) instead of focusing on his positive traits (like his very advanced reading ability, math skills, giftedness in music, prayerfulness, thoughtfulness, helpfulness).  There are times when I forget that his traits that challenge me are also good but can be tiring or draining to caregivers of children like him.
 
But last Easter Sunday, God reminded me of that incident/scene and that conversation with my child.  God used the same young preacher who inspired my eldest son to prophesy his future to resurrect that moment in my mind!  I was so amazed!  What perfect timing!  God has just given me a new movie to play in my mind!  I felt that God did not only give me hope but He also gave me a picture/vision of what my son can/will do when he's older.  So, after the celebration, I shared my story briefly to Brother Audee and had our picture taken with him.  I want to look at this picture often, everyday even, to remind me of that conversation that I had with my son more than a year ago and to sustain me in hope that all these challenges I'm experiencing in parenting him are temporary.  All these shall pass.  I claim that we are moving towards our victory one day at a time.
 

With Brother Audee

2 comments:

  1. I love this post. It's hard society tells you your child is "bad" when they're just being themselves! There's this overwhelming desire to "fix" kids that don't fit in the mold that society defines for them.

    I'm Fil-Am, gifted, and I know as a child, a lot of my energy and eccentricities were really frowned upon by my Grandma! She kept telling me how "If you were born in the Philippines..." I wouldn't be nearly as wild.

    Gifted children are unique and incredible they're also a handful. Embrace your kid like he's the gift that God gave you. Our gifted children have so many great points and if we nurture them correctly, they can change the world!

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. Yes, gifted kids can be quite a handful. But my husband and I needs to embrace that part of them as well. We are learning to adjust to their unique traits. I'm saying "their" now because our youngest son is showing signs of giftedness as well. Still observing him. Anyway, he's still very young.

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