Time can often take its toll on us in a variety of ways.
After 17 years of marriage, my wife and I will sometimes communicate in ways contrary to the methods of our newlywed years. Admittedly, there are some days when our conversations are reduced to a series of grunts and groans only perceptible to us, and maybe one of our children. Believe it or not, the exercise is a highly tuned system meant for the other that conveys the exhaustion of the situation or maybe the exhaustion with the other. Mainly me. I am a man prone to all things stereotypically male. I revel in routine and I’m not prone to appreciate change.
Granted our grunts and groans aren’t always ideal, but we’ve used this system to communicate with each other when our words are barely audible and the composition of a full sentence is deemed cruel and unusual punishment.
I’m reminded our own idiosyncrasy when I consider the uniqueness of children with special needs. Many of them are considered “non-verbal.” To those unfamiliar with them, they may seem to be incapable of communication. They couldn’t be more wrong!
I know from working with these kids for any length of time that you find out one thing. They communicate - but they do so in there own very special way! The perception of non-communicative is false with every child I have come in contact with. Even in the most severe of disabilities.
The challenge, is taking the time to learn, adjust and adapt to the specific circumstance. Problem is, this takes time and too often, we’re on a pace that kills. It kills our bodies as well as our minds. Patience and quiet just don’t seem to happen anymore. And if we are to stop and take the time to work with a friends’ or even a stranger’s child or even schedule a play date with someone, it just seems too difficult and seemingly not worth the effort.
But, here are the facts. If we isolate ourselves or our children from those children and their families, we and our children are the losers in the long run. They grow up incapable of dealing with others who may be different or miss what really matters most in life.
And by not modeling this discipline in the first place, we’re teaching them that slowing down to help others is a bad investment when the truth is otherwise.
If we want a depth to our family, we need to groom it by helping others. If we want to learn great communication skills, we need to work with someone who is perceived by the world to be non-verbal. In the process, you’ll learn to communicate in new and exciting ways. And you will be the richer for it.
OK. Now all you men out there grunt in agreement.