communication, Love, Uncategorized

What Did You Say?

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen Covey

Recently I attended a women’s retreat in Alabama. The highlight for me was a conversation that happened because one of the speakers, Tammy Tkach, challenged us to listen to others without interrupting.  She said let someone else tell you their story, and even though you may be tempted to interject yours, don’t.  Just listen.

During a break, I looked across the table, and there sat Marguerite.  I asked where she was from.  She said, Baton Rouge.  I nodded, kept my mouth shut, and continued to listen.  She grew up south of Baton Rouge.  She met her husband, while in college there, and moved to the area.  I smiled, leaned in, and kept listening.  She had taught middle school for 30 plus years, and is now retired.

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know.  But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Dalai Lama 

Next came the gem of her story.  She told me other teachers would always ask her why her students were so well behaved, why they followed her directions, and stayed in line.  She said it was simple.  When someone was misbehaving, she didn’t yell at them across the room.  She motioned them to come to her.  She would have a private conversation with them, asking them to tell her what they were doing wrong.  She asked them why they were doing it, to help them think about what they had done.  Then she would say,  “Now are you going to do that again?”  This gave them the opportunity to make their own decision and be responsible for their actions.  As she shared, I could hear the love and respect she had for each child, the lesson of respecting others she was passing on to them.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Bryant H. McGill

Thank you Tammy, for the challenge.  Thank you Marguerite, for your story.  A great lesson for this mom who is always learning.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

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Allison, autism, faith, family, Love, Morgan, Uncategorized

The Student is The Best Teacher

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born of one’s youth.” Psalm 127: 3, 4

As I write this, my older daughter, Allison, is preparing to teach her first college course in behavior.  She’s had years under her belt as a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst), and countless observation hours as a sibling.  I have no doubt she will have valuable lessons to share with her students.  I’m grateful for passionate teachers, and I’m especially proud of this one.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When it comes to Allison’s sister, Morgan, I wonder who’s teaching who.  I am forever learning.  I’m learning not to compare her to anyone else, because it’s a precious waste of time and mental energy.  I’m learning not to limit her to what I know she can do now.  I’m looking at the rest as “things she can’t do yet”.  Together, we are working on our personal bests.  As I continue to challenge her, I’m learning she is very skilled at challenging me. 😉

There is a line I struggle to define all the time;  What behaviors are due to her disability, and what behaviors are within her ability to correct.  And That Line is Drawn in Shifting Sands, because Every New Person, Place, or Thing can change the equation.

Lines get blurred and meltdowns happen.  When Morgan is coming back down from a meltdown, she will often say “I was just trying to fix it”.  😦 Me too, Morgan. Me too.  When I see her stressing and I don’t see the reason, I’ve learned to ask, “What are you trying to fix?”.  Using her language helps her find her words.

For Morgan’s sake, for her independence and quality of life, we have to keep pushing that line.  We have to continue to do the hard things until they become the no big deal things.  When we come to an impasse, I remind her (and myself) to take a deep breath.  I remind her that I love her, and we can always try again.  Each time we succeed, it’s worth all the lessons we’ve both learned.

Back to Allison.  It was clear from the beginning that she was going to keep me on my toes.  I can still see her at four years old, with her hands on her hips, explaining her point of view.  We definitely bumped heads and hearts along the way.  Despite my first time parent blunders, she’s become a pretty amazing young woman.

And all this time I thought I was their teacher.  Turns out, they are mine.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

 

 

 

 

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autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

Chains and Rainbows

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

Each year, our family holds an autism benefit for Autism Tennessee at the Bluebird Café.  This April will be our sixteenth year.  The event was named “Breaking The Chains”, after a song that was written for our daughter, during a time I had so many questions about her and her future.

You know that old saying, “Be careful what you pray for.”  I remember a time when Morgan seemed to have no interests in anything we presented, and we had tried everything.  She was diagnosed with autism when she was 3 1/2 years old.  Below are the lyrics to the song, a prayer, to be able to connect with her.  One of the lines is “open your eyes to the colors of rainbows”.

Help Me Break Those Chains

 How can I reach you so that I can teach you

Open up the world and put it in your hands

Cast out those shadows, replace them with meadows

How can I help you finally understand

There is a place out, I need to show you, please don’t hide

 

Help me break those chains that hold your precious mind

Like Rapunzel in her castle, please let down your golden hair

I need to climb and join you so that I can find

That something that’s missing between here and there

Help me break those chains

 

Open your eyes to the colors of rainbows

Open up your ears to hear the whippoorwills

Come out of that midnight, reach into the sunlight

Feel the warmth that greets you as your climb those hills

Taste the sweetness of each day, together we will find a way

 

Help me break those chains that hold your precious mind

Like Rapunzel in her castle, please let down your golden hair

I need to climb and join you so that I can find

That something that’s missing between here and there

Help me break those chains

Tammy Vice J Rees Music BMI (c)

Now Morgan is 23.  Education through the Arts has played a major role in opening the doors of communication.  I call her my event planner.  She is always about the Next Big Thing, and our house looks a lot like an art gallery.  She assigns each month a color and theme.  March was green, and “rainbow kites”.  We paint a scene on our sliding glass door to ring in the new month.

The rainbow is a promise.  There are still countless things I don’t know, so I’m thankful I do know  The Rainbow Maker.  🙂

Until Next Time,

Know the Hope!

Tammy

 

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Uncategorized

“Life is GRAND”

Wikipedia refers to them as Grandparents.  We call them Mamaw and Papaw, and we agree they are GRAND.  Over the years, they’ve done whatever it takes to teach and entertain the troops. From fishing to farming, tour guiding to taxiing, bargaining to baking,… They are true professors of life.

Disney Mamaw Papaw Morgan Disney Delight with Morgan

Papaw Mamaw Allison Med Cruise 1 Mediterranean Merriment  with Allison

Grandparents are a hard act to follow. 

Maybe THAT’s why we get to be parents first. 😉

Below are a couple of tunes to honor GRAND Parenting…

Somebody’s Grandpa

Grandma Edmond’s Daily Bread

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

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