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Be Thankful
November 15, 2014

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We all have things to be thankful for at this time of year--and always. But since we all go through our days so very busy, we miss out on appreciating the little things in our day to be grateful for. Many people I know have taken the "thankfulness challenge" and writing down a few things they are thankful for each day for 30 days. I think writing them down makes us be physically aware of them and can refer back to them often. Even though it is difficult to do, I hope to be mindful of all I have to be thankful for every month, not just in November.

As special parents, it is difficult at times to stop and truly notice what we have to be grateful for on any given day. Between appointments, surgeries, school issues, etcit is hard to see the blessings in all of it. But at the same time, if we look close and pay attention, we will see that we have so many things to be thankful for that most people take for granted with their children.

If you are a parent of typical children, my prayer for you this month is that you will appreciate and truly express gratitude for all the things ---even the smallest things, that your child is able to do that you may take for granted. How they walk with ease, tell you with their voice what they feel, or their ability to be independent and do things for themselves---believe it or not, these are little miracles that you should be grateful for.

And if you are a special parent, I pray that you take note of my words and my heart and be aware of the little things each day that make your child unique-and celebrate and be thankful for all the things he or she can do, rather than focusing on their limitations.

I know many parents of children that have limited, if any, communication skills. For these families, the most minute, quiet sound makes their heart smile. Even still, the smallest gesture in an attempt to let their wants or needs be known, is also cause for celebration. Maybe your child struggles socially, and the little victories of talking to a new friend, or picking up a social cue come up, celebrate. If that is youwrite those victories down this month-and be thankful.

I also know many special families that children have limited, if any, mobility skills. For these children, each and every new movement is a challenge, and every time they do something new the parents are filled with joy. Just as there is a range of ability in communication and social skills, there is a range of ability of physical challenges. Even though my daughter has been mobile, on her feet, since she was two, her movements and balance are compromised, and her left hand is limited. Every time she figures out how to overcome a challenge and completes a new self care task, we celebrate. But, now that it is November, and thankfulness is in the air, I am going to make a point of keeping a journal of her accomplishments-and be thankful.

Wherever you find yourself today---I challenge you to see the good in all the amazing things your child can do. Let's make a conscious decision to focus on the positives, not the negatives. Let's realize how far they've come, rather than how far they have to go. I truly believe our kids, typical and non-typical alike, will feel the attitude in the atmosphere and be proud of themselves in their own unique way-and you can be thankful.

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