For those of you that do not follow the "Find My Eyes" Facebook page, I recently posted a picture of Jack.
On Sunday morning Jack announced that he was going to get to level 100 on Gauntlet 2. I told him to knock himself out thinking he would give up around level 8. Sometime around 3 o'clock, we took this picture and put it on the Facebook page.
Consequently, I watched as the number of fans of my page went down and down (about 15 total). One of my former "fans" was kind enough to send me a message as she walked out the door. "You shouldn't let your kids play video games all day... No wonder he has ADHD". My initial response was one of defensiveness. How dare she, that's not what ADHD is, don't tell me how to raise my kid, etc. But I simply responded with this "Thank you for telling me why you are leaving my site. If you are a parent on a similar journey, I wish you the best of luck and prosperity".
I am not angry with her. She chose a private forum to inform me of her feelings. The others that left simply "unliked" the page, a quiet and respectful way to bow out.
It seems as parents, we are constantly in competition with each other. How often do people check in with their kids at "The Natural History Museum" vs. "McDonalds"? We want other parents to know that we are doing things that are educational, or exemplary, or even right. We want our peers to think/know that we are doing the best things possible in raising our children. We want to brag about them. We want others to know that we, as parents, are parenting "correctly". We want our friends to know that our children "love organic broccoli" and "sushi" and have no interest in "chicken nuggets" or "that television thing".
I am about to do the same thing.
Jack really struggles with personal responsibility. Whenever he has a meltdown, or is simply oppositional, it's always somebody's fault (usually me). It's something we work on daily through behavior therapy, school, and OT. Jack has autism. Autism means "selfness", the inability (or disability) to see beyond your own world. The inability to know that others simply don't direct you, but want you to succeed, want you to be loved, want to share you.
On Sunday, I got to teach Jack a valuable lesson. A lesson, I hope, we all want to teach our children. If you set your mind to something, you can do it. Jack became very frustrated with his game, but he did things like ask for help, or take a break, try a different exit in the game instead of throwing the iPad, crying, or blaming me in frustration.
The reason I defend allowing my son to play a video game most of the day is simple. There are lots of pictures of Jack on the Find My Eyes facebook page. There is one thing in this picture that is different from all of them...
It's written in his face. This is the most engaged picture I have of my son.
Jack, despite what anyone says, you can accomplish anything. I admire your dedication. I empathize with your struggle. I champion your success.
I will continue to share your success with you and my friends and family and our blog, despite the silent judgement placed on me.
Thank you to Midway Arcade (the makers of Gauntlet 2) for a vehicle to teach my son one of the virtues.
Thank you, my son, for teaching me two more... Patience and Serenity.
Because everything here is Holy. Everything. Even you.