My ten year old is an amazing and resilient spirit. It’s hard to explain if you don’t know him, but he’s not your typical kid and we all know a kid or two like him, I’m sure. He has some learning issues that are new to us over the course of the last year. Actually, since he was five we’ve known something unusual was going on but he’s always maintained himself well in school, for the most part. He is incredibly devoted to some things and drawing is one of those. He has taught himself to draw incredibly well by spending hours and hours practicing and teaching himself new techniques. He is fantastic at karate and he swims on the swim team. However, on top of that, he dresses unusually, expresses himself in very funny but kind of acutely embarrassing ways, and generally is a free spirit. He is not interested in being anything other than what he feels, which is great, but difficult for a ten year old and his mother! He is incredibly empathetic, loves conversations with adults and other kids and is kind and caring towards others, big and small.

I find that as his parent, sometimes things come out of my mouth that make me sound and feel less than supportive. I tend to draw attention to things he could change or do that might make him ‘fit in’ more. Not because I think it’s the only way – I rationally completely understand that there are many ways to get to where you are going – but sometimes my instinct to protect him from ridicule or criticism is fierce and immediate and I find myself saying things to him that would make him less than whole if he took my advice. And, to his credit, he doesn’t take my advice for the most part…

Tonight I watched him drawing and thinking and working hard on something important to him. A project that ties him to friends, girls and boys, older and younger than he, independent of adult input, creative, lovely and really, really in depth and I saw him searching for the right pen, the right pencil, the right tool and I couldn’t believe how resilient he is in the face of my doubt!!! Wow, that was a wake up of magnificent proportions!

Here is to all the kids and adults in the world that walk their own path, even when others are doubtful and disparaging about where they are going and how they will get there. I hope my son’s resilience is for a lifetime and that every time I witness it, it gives me strength as his mother to support him to be who he truly is and not who I think he should be. Think what the future holds! All the six Seconds principles apply here but I think especially of ‘No Way is the Way’ and ‘Wisdom Lives Within.’ I hope that even without hearing those words he is experiencing those feelings.

Alex Russell

Alex is a member of the Six Seconds EQ Network practicing and sharing emotional intelligence

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