Last night as I sat proofreading David’s (My Son) essay my wife began to experience some difficulty getting my Daughter (Dejia) to focus on her homework. Let me give you a little more insight about our family make up. As I have mentioned in earlier post Kelly and I met in 2009. Kelly had been previously married and had two wonderful children that added a type of joy to my life I had never known. When Kelly and I met Dejia was two years old and at two she was strong willed and the best kind of stubborn a child can be. You see Dejia isn’t your typical child she was diagnosed with profound hearing loss and not too long after Kelly and I met Dejia received a cochlear implant. With the use of her cochlear implant she is now able to hear.When Dejia reached school age we came to the consensus that Dejia was going to start school in the regular class environment and no matter what, we were going to have confidence and assurance in her ability to learn just like any other child. My wife has spent many nights from that moment all the way up until now working tirelessly to keep Dejia moving forward and she has done one helluva job. I mean if you could only see the type of strength and determination it takes you would understand why I have so much admiration for the miracle and the inspiration the two of them are continuosly being. There have been so many frustrating times and so many extremely proud and happy times that make the process that much more fulfilling. There have been instances where we felt like we had made so much progress but had our mental momentum halted by opinions to the contrary. We’ve had to go against advisement and stick to our vision of what our daughter is capable of for what seems like a million times and she’s only in the third grade. Trust me, we aren’t seeing with rose colored glasses but we have realized our glasses have to be strongly tinted with Faith, as a matter of fact, Faith has to be our lens. Dejia has risen to the occasion every single time and she has yet to have us or herself proven wrong. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a road we have walked alone there has been strong family support. We have been blessed with a school and teachers that gave us advice based on what they felt and knew to be best and even when we felt otherwise they respected our decision and did their part to make it happen. What we felt was going to be our most difficult year yet is turning out to be such a great one. To think, not long after this school year started we were sitting in a meeting debating whether or not we should go back on our decision to have her move forward not due to what she hadn’t learned but because there was some doubt about whether what was to come was going to be much too difficult and/or taxing on her mind and self-esteem. Dejia has worked hard and made everyone around her believers. But last night, her frustration was different the source of it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t the outburst of a child wanting play rather than study. It wasn’t the frustration of learning something hard and new that is difficult to grasp. It was the frustration of a child who is now experiencing life and not only experiencing life but experiencing one of the not so pretty parts of life. As we sat in the dining room doing what we all do on a typical weeknight I learned something that hit me like a ton of bricks. For a father it can be very easy to unawares take on the role of being rigid without ever really taking the time to understand what the cause of a certain type of behaviour at a certain point in time could be. As I explained to Dejia that she was going to have to devote time to studying before watching any tv She began to become more and more upset so we began to ask her questions as we do a lot when we run into difficulties. You see, the decisions we have made for Dejia haven’t been ours alone. Dejia has always stated her ability to move on to the next grade, to be able to learn and be a “Big Girl”. But last night was different, She quickly stated I want to go back because some people make fun of the way I talk. To hear that come out of her mouth with tears in her eyes made me instantly furious. Last night was different because I have seen how kids can be before, and I’ve always seen her handle the comments and sniggles with such strength and I’ve always known that it’s something she’s going to have to learn to overcome in this world we live in. But I made the mistake of not realizing this loving, happy, nine year old child gets on the bus every morning and goes into an environment in which she is different from most. I don’t see Dejia’s being deaf as a Disability I see it more as a “Differability”. I believe Dejia can do anything she wants to do she might have to get there differently but I have no doubt in her ability to get there. What I learned last night is that there can never be too much encouragement for a child. And I’m not talking about encouragement only when they accomplish or do do something that we feel is great. I am talking about the type of encouragement that lets them know they are great Just because. They need to know that they aren’t lacking in anything that they need to be Great. After we got to the bottom of what was bothering her we talked to her about how Great she was and why no matter what anybody says about her she is smart and she is beautiful and she just has to be willing and able to be her best in spite of. And within seconds she was back to work she got her homework and studying done and was again our normal playful, flipping Dejia (did I mention she loves gymnastics). Later in the evening while in the kitchen Dejia ran into the kitchen to go to the pantry ( I am positive that I’m going to have to put a lock on that thing sooner or later). I stopped her and said:
Dejia: Hmm (With I’m not going to grab anything sweet before bed look)
Me: Repeat after me, God made me, And I am perfectly made.
Dejia: (With an immediate, Big smile) God made me, And I am Perfectly made.
The Power this statement had when she spoke it with her own mouth made a huge difference in her demeanor.This is the kind of statement I want to make it a point to make sure that our children understand and believe without a shadow of a doubt.
Last night I learned that even with all the hard work Dejia has put in. Even though she has excelled when she could have easily not tried so hard and not have been seen the less for it. Even tough we are working hard everyday to let her Know she is wonderful. When she leaves our Home there is a world out there that has all kinds of people in it some good and loving some just downright mean. When It comes to children I have to also realize that some of their actions come from a lack of understanding. When children see things that are different from the norm they tend to point it out (unfiltered). Every child is capable of being made to feel less than and it happens to millions of children across the country everyday. So I urge you to make sure your Home is a place where your children are constantly being filled with encouragement and Love. That they hear how wonderful they are from you and that they are speaking and knowing it for themselves as well, because when they are away we can’t be for certain there confidence and positive energy isn’t being chipped at by others. Make sure they know that they are made by God. Make sure they Know how perfect they are.
If you’ve made it this far Thanks,