How many of us have heard of the power of positivity? While I do believe in this principle, how many of us truly prophesy our own future as a result of what we say and what we do? This is especially true as a parent of an autistic child because it is easy to lose sight that we have a constant observer.
My son Jackson has significant language challenges. However, just because he cannot communicate in an effective manner doesn’t mean that he doesn’t understand conversations that he hears or things he observes. Therefore, any time we are frustrated or in a moment of weakness verbalize a fear we may actually be prophesying the future. For example, if after months and months of speech therapy with no apparent positive results Jackson were to hear me say he’s just never going to speak, there is a good chance that when Jackson hears this he will believe it. If he believes it, he will stop trying. If he stops trying, then he truly never will speak – which means I just prophesied his future.
The challenge is our children have their own paths and their own timelines. It is not a matter of behavior or even intelligence. It is simply their own unique neuro-mapping that can result in a longer trip or at times a wrong turn (that, unfortunately, can at times hit a dead end). But, we can never stop trying and we must always prophesy a positive outcome. If as a parent, we get frustrated, imagine the frustration of our children who themselves are the ones who may mentally want to do something but physically can’t. Due to their lack of expression, we cannot always see their frustration, but we should always promote (or prophesy) a positive outcome so that they know we truly believe in them.
Jackson has not spoken for years and years. He participated in more speech therapies than you could imagine with no apparent success. All of the while, my wife would consistently speak to Jackson and tell him how much she looks forward to hearing his voice one day. Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I have had many privately sad (and crying) moments, but Jackson only knew that we believed one day he would speak. After many years, Jackson said his first words, but it was not simply a word. He spoke an entire sentence – which means all of the years of speech therapy actually did benefit him. Jackson never gave up because he heard his mom prophesied his success.
Just imagine what we could do if we applied this to our own lives. How far could we go? I often forget following my own advice, and then I look to my son who tries harder than anyone I know.
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.