Sunday, April 25, 2010

Things that make ya go hmmm was a good 90's song...& it makes a good blog post title too! LOL

So a few weeks ago I went to a conference in Portland, Oregon called all born (in). It was a cross disability inclusion conference put on by the Northwest Down Syndrome Association. What an amazing conference. But 2 words come to mind:
1. Information
2. Overload
I spent the first 2 hours trying to figure out what the keynote speaker was talking about, and how was I going to explain to my group that I sat there like a zombie trying to figure out what language was being spoken. Because it certainly wasn't English! Not English that a 32 year old house wife momma with some college education was comprehending! But then the clouds parted and the sun came the form of breakout classes! Classes spoken in everyday English, by everyday (sort of) moms of children with disabilities. So, there was one class that I really enjoyed & I wanted to write a little about it. It really struck home for me & here is why...

The speaker was Roberta Dunn. She is a parent of a 17 year old twin son with Down Syndrome. She also is very involved in FACT (Family And Community Together). She is an amazing speaker. She speaks right at your level, & started her class with her story or her family. I can't possibly regurgitate her entire class but the main point was, to me pretty profound, with a little bit of "dahh" at the end! It went a little like this...

She believes that when it comes to raising a child with special needs you can be one of two things.
1. A leaf
2. A rock climber

The leaf starts off high up in a tree and eventually breaks away. It gets caught in a little breeze and eventually lands in a river, where it is carried away, but eventually lands in it's resting spot. That leaf only gets as far as it's environment is willing to take it.

The rock climbers has a goal. It's goal may be HUGE, but it's his/her goal. The climber starts at the bottom of the rock with that goal way up high. The climber doesn't just start climbing with no plan, no precautions. The climber makes a plan or a path. The climber puts on safety belts and ropes and checks everything twice. Then the climber starts his/her journey. They WILL run into unexpected obstacles, but the climber re evaluates the situation and makes a new plan or path to get to the top of that rock. Eventually, the climber gets to the top of that rock because of the well thought out strategies. The climber chose where he/she wanted to end up and made it happen. It was NOT left up to chance.

Pretty cool ha? And so simple. Obviously you want to be the rock climber and make the well thought out, planned decision as to where we want/expect our child to be. Not that we can always plan for those kinds of things, but it's always good to have goals! And it could apply to anyone/anything in life. Another thing that Roberta & her husband did, when her son was born was they made a family mission statement. Hers was long...very long. But it was personal to them. It was their road map to raising their family. Not just their son, but their family. It was cool. Very cool. And something that Zach and I will do. And I decided that I want to take it 1 step further. When we do get our "statement", I am going to use it as some kind of decoration in our house. It will proudly be displayed for not only our family, but for everyone who enters our home. I think it's important for the people in our lives (family & friends) to know what our "road map" looks like. So one of these days, I'll be posting not only our family mission statement, but my craftiness to go along with it! Something to think might want to try it! If you do, share it with me...I'm excited to hear!
Oh ya, and a few posts ago I made a comment about Jake's new rock star summer hair cut (thank you Auntie Patty), and why he got it...well here it is...

Jake was doing his goofy little kick stand scoot super fast around the island in the kitchen trying to catch Gracie. They were playing toddler/kid tag. Not a real fair game, but fun for them! Anyway, the reason Jake got this super sweet hair cut...he and Gracie are going to be in a calender this fall!! Our local Down Syndrome Group is making a calender of our local kids and their siblings to sell at the Buddy Walk this year!! Yahh!! I can't wait to see it! Jake & Gracie are going to be in September (Jake's b day month). The theme was back to school, so the had on white shirts, jeans & Gracie had on a backpack. There is another family that will also be in the pic, but thanks to technology, the picture was taken against a green screen. All the kids and the background will be photo cropped together later!! So it will be a surprise for me too!!


Anonymous said...

Julie, I LOVE Jake's new summer haircut! And I want a calendar when they come out. I wonder if I can buy one? :) Soooo cute!! Thanks for sharing information from the conference. The rock climber story is encouraging. There is so much I want to do for Caleb now that he's starting school, but OH it can get overwhelming... but I'll keep sight of my goal, that beautiful goal at the top of the mountain and when we get there, it'll be amazing and so worth it all!

Our life...special with needs! said...

Liz...when they come out, I'll find out how to get you one. They will probably get sold on our website . If not, I can get you one when they do come out and mail it to you!!

Andrea said...

Thank you so much for sharing that...I loved it! The mission statement is a great idea, I have wanted to come up with one for my family. For now, our house "statement" is be polite - it covers almost everything. :) That is as far as I got! Loved to read this, thank you!

heidi marie said...

such a cute haircut. and i think i feel like both a leaf and a climber depending upon the day. lol.

Candice said...

My son is also special needs. I just publically wrote about it on my blog yesterday. Anyway, I discussed expectations. We received the diagnosis when he turned two. Becasue of not knowing, we had VERY high expections of him. He is doing amazingly well, so I beleive it does help.

PS I'm a new follower!