I spoke at Holland Bloorview last month to a wonderful group of parents and professionals about success, as it relates to children’s rehab and therapy. I’ve edited together some clips of the first half of the evening – the second half was Q&A and open conversation, which was actually the really good stuff!
Topics covered in this short video include why I wrote No Ordinary Boy, and how my definition of success evolved over time.
Jennifer, Just watched this video and was struck by your experience of ‘de-coupling’ success from specific outcomes, and your awareness of the perspective the parent, workers/teachers and institutions bring to the child vs. the child’s just being. As a parent of so-called ‘ordinary’ boys, I’m left with the question: How do you parent your other son differently than if you hadn’t had your experiences with Owen? And are there implications about being child-centred that parents and institutions can learn from your experiences?
Hi Cheryl – thanks for your comment!
In general, I think there’s a tendency to over-parent. I face down my temptations to meddle in every aspect of Angus’ affairs on a daily basis :) I see it all around me–micro-managing and fussing and a kind of hyper-vigilance. It’s stressful for everyone and probably not helpful or productive.
It’s actually easier to say all of these things (in the video) about Owen because he didn’t ever argue or endanger himself or make independent decisions. With Angus, it’s much harder to let him be and trust that his disappointments, however he came by them, are necessary and important and an integral part of his journey. I often draw on my experience with Owen to help me through some of the more difficult moments with Angus, when I want to jump in and fix. Which is not to say I always do it right or without regret!
Detaching from outcomes is a time-worn ideal, which I learned of first through reading about Buddhist teachings. I think there’s application in all aspects of life, not just parenting. There’s something much more peaceful about focusing on how we engage with and respond to experiences, rather than pinning our hopes on something turning out the way we’ve orchestrated it.
That last line says it all for me. Loved watching the video, and now I can hear your voice when I read your words!