All parents (at least all normal parents) dream of a beautiful future for their children. Things are going to be smooth because they are not going to make the same mistakes their parents made! Their children will get all possible opportunities (maybe opportunities that they never had themselves). Their children will become academic geniuses, sport stars, musical prodigies, inventors and discoverers.
But then reality hits… sometimes it is just that the everyday struggles of daily life and the busyness that comes with having children and making ends meet, cause us to stop dreaming. It is a gradual thing. One day you wake up and the only thing you care about is getting them through school.
For some parents, about 30% in all, reality hits really hard. Their child struggles in some area; and not just struggles. Their child struggles to the point of utter frustration for everyone in the family. Then the big search starts. If the parents can afford it, there are all sorts of examinations: pediatricians, pediatric neurologists, educational psychologists, ophthalmologists, developmental optometrists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physiotherapists, you name it. The child is poked and prodded and examined until some sort of diagnosis has been made. The end result is this; your child is different. They have a learning challenge – some call it learning disabilities.
Hey, I want to tell you something: different is good. In fact, it is great! It is usually those people who are different that become the great inventors, discoverers, artists, and problem solvers of their era. Please go through the list in Wikipedia of people with dyslexia. That list includes people in a wide variety of professions: doctors, scientists, actors, artists, writers, journalists, TV personalities, chefs, athletes and sport stars, very famous entrepreneurs, inventors, musicians… you name it. So, don’t despair. People with learning challenges have the ability to look at life from a different perspective and to find very creative solutions to challenges they and others face. Find your child’s strengths, strengthen them and celebrate them!
If your child has a learning challenge, stay positive: there is hope. Remember, although they might carry this challenge with them the rest of their lives, it is only in school where learning challenges stand out so much. After school they are no longer so obvious. You don’t know about the learning challenges of adults. All you know is whether they are making a success of their lives or not. And more importantly, you know about their character. But whether they are dyslexic or not, you just don’t necessarily know. It doesn’t actually matter.
One thing that all of people with learning challenges have in common, other than their learning challenge, is grit: the ability to continue and keep on trying when everyone else has stopped long ago. The best place for them to learn this, is from their parents. Parents with children who have learning challenges need grit: the ability to continue and to help their children and not to give up long after teachers, family and friends have.
It is important to know that it is close to impossible for children with learning challenges to make it on their own. If you read about famous people with learning challenges, there is nearly always someone who stood by them and helped them. For the author of The Gift of Dyslexia, Ron Davis, it was a girlfriend who taught him to write. For actress Keira Knightley it was her parents that helped. Crown Princess Victoria from Sweden had the support of her family. Businessman Richard Branson credits the support of his family to overcoming his struggles with dyslexia. For others it is often a teacher. These are people who are not blinded by the challenges children face but who see the potential.
Unique with specific strengths for a specific purpose
I firmly believe that God created each one of us unique with specific strengths for a specific purpose. Find those strengths in your child, point them out, talk about them and establish the fact that they have a special gift for a special purpose. Sure, there are areas where they might be struggling. But everybody struggles in some or other area. Struggles are needed for growth. However, if the struggles become the focus, they become a very heavy burden. If the strengths are the focus, the struggles become just something that is part of life. When parents focus on the strength, they create hope and an expectation for the future.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
Read my post on challenges here.
Boy with hat image by esudroff from Pixabay Sparkler holding hands Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay Climber image by skeeze from Pixabay Crown Princess Victoria from Sweden By Holger Motzkau 2010, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons (cc-by-sa-3.0), CC BY-SA 3.0