by Bryn Hogan
Executive Director of the Autism Treatment Center of America®
& Deputy CEO of the Option Institute®
We have so many things we want our children to learn … so many goals:
We want them to sit at the table for a meal, use words to communicate what they want and what they feel, dress themselves, recognize the colors of the rainbow … the list goes on and on.
So often we can find ourselves driven to accomplish these goals because we love our children and we want the best for them. We tell ourselves that if our child can attain this skill, or complete that goal, then this will make their lives (and ours) better and they (and we) will be more successful. We do this because we love our children, we want the best for them.
Let us just pause a moment here and ask:
Are these skills useful and helpful? Certainly.
Are they, ultimately, what matters most? Certainly not.
This is a gentle, loving reminder – to focus on what matters most.
The Human Connection: you and your child looking into each other’s eyes and smiling, the feeling inside of you when you allow all the noise to fade and are present with the immensity of your feelings for your child. The sound of your child’s laughter in your ear, the feel of your child’s hand on your face. Two people choosing to focus on and love one another. Touching each other’s lives, even if for just a moment. Pausing, in the midst of all the business and seeming chaos of this world, to have a truly human experience.
You can have this experience today, right now. No ‘goals’ need to be met, no specific ‘skill’ attained.
All that is required is inside you, right in this moment. You can choose to stop, go to your child, and express your love. Perhaps with a smile, or a word, or a tickle. Perhaps with a puppet or a gentle song.
Perhaps your child will respond in a way that you can see, and perhaps they will not. Either way, you will have offered your love to your child. You will have offered him or her that tender beautiful part of you, like the treasure that it is.
You will have had a deeply human experience – you will have done what