Those of you who know me, understand that my heart is tied to my family. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are happy, I am happy. I know that is the case with most mothers. I have spent so much time, praying for my children.
None have struggled more than my oldest son, Nathan. I don't exaggerate when I say he has walked a hard road. But no matter how much my heart hurts for him, I am tough on him because I know that wallowing in self-pity will get him nowhere. I know that focusing on the negative will just spiral him downward. But I do have to say that being a cheerleader is exhausting at times.
However, for the past few weeks, he has been hearing the same message we give him from other people. As I'm sure you are aware, often we can talk until we are blue in the face to our children and they don't always believe what we say or accept it. Yet, they will accept that same thing from someone else. Weird, I know, but it's what I did to my own mother too. It wasn't until I had children of my own that I realized that she did know what she was talking about! :-)
Some of the things he has heard from others the past couple of weeks are conversations such as...
- "I don't look to the fire department to fill my social needs because this group has never been good at that." "You are on the department to help others and that is the reason you belong."
- "You are more bothered by your disability than others are."
- "We notice that you hover in the background and bolt right after church." "People want to see you and talk to you, but you need to make the effort to mingle."
- "You will bring your self-esteem into every situation or place you go and if you don't feel good about yourself, you will always interpret each situation or conversation negatively."
- "Finding a job where you are fulfilled and happy is far more important than how much you make."
Nathan sat down and was able to articulate how he is feeling with a couple from our church, the president of the local fire department, as well as his job coach and the coach's supervisor. It was encouraging for Dan and I to hear them reiterate what we've been telling Nathan for a long time. He came away from each conversation with a new perspective and in a much more positive frame of mind.
I have to say that I am proud of my son. He gets knocked down regularly and yet, keeps getting up and moving forward. I'm fairly certain he will get pushed down again but I'm going to keep encouraging him to get up and keep on going.