Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Glimpse of the Right Word

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11 NIV

It has been a good week here in Skiffdom.  We are back on track, schooling away with a clean and organized house.  I decided to start the new year with a new devotional for the boys.  Several moths ago my good friend Tabitha lent me a devotional series called Family Times.  I couldn't make it work with the way our time was divided between public school and homeschooled kids.  Honestly there just wasn't a whole lot of "family time" as I was constantly running between the two schedules.   I made do with a quick reading of a chapter of the Gospels, a Psalm and a Proverb once a day with each school group.  It wasn't perfect but it was something.  God really laid on my heart that now was the time to start the new devotional series with the boys.  We had put our physical and our educational houses in order and now our spiritual house needed some work.

The study is broken down into several 4 week studies that each focus on one trait.  I started with respect.  In every house respect of authority can be an issue.  Once again autism tends to exasperate this.  Respect is based upon an ability to view the world outside ones self, to be able to understand the structure of relationships within the home (or school or office or just in society in general).  Autism at its very core is a communications disorder.  This makes understanding relationships on every level difficult, including one's relationship with authority.   Over coming this in our home has been very difficult.  This is one of the areas that having a partner on the spectrum is both a blessing and a detriment.  The blessing is that my husband understands the under lying problem when one of the boys is acting inappropriately toward authority and can communicate the problem  in  a way the boys can understand when I cannot get through.  The detriment comes when that behavior is towards him.  At that point the connection is broken because he cannot see past his own perspective......a blessing and a detriment. 

I must admit to being skeptical of this new study.  If years of training, explaining, researching, discipline, more researching, more explaining, more discipline, more training had not had much affect I really doubted that this little basic study was going to have any impact.  Simply out of obedience I started.
The first day the study material had me read the story of a boy who had misbehaved terribly when his class had a substitute teacher.  The story went onto explain that when he disrespected the substitute he had actually disrespected his teacher because the substitute was simply a proxy for her.  Thus whatever authority God has set in our lives is simply a substitute for God himself and when we disrespect them we are disrespecting God.  Now I have said variations of this to my children over and over again throughout the years but I have never used the word substitute.  That was they key that unlocked the whole thing for my boys.  A substitute teacher is a concrete concept they can understand thus making the whole concept concrete in their minds. The attitude shift was immediate and tangible within the house.  This is something that I love about the way my spectrum boys minds work.  Once a connection is made it is made.  There is no looking back, no second guessing.  It's just a done deal.  That's not to say there are not moments of will to be overcome but the very real, very basic disconnect has been overcome and the bridge has been built.  I am so very privileged that God allows me to be a part of this at time frustrating but incredibly rewarding, beautiful process.
If you had told me in January of 2011 that in one year I would be homeschooling all five of my boys I would have laughed out loud.  This journey not one that I ever pictured myself taking but I have to say that despite its difficulties and frustrations (and believe me there are plenty) I am finding myself incredibly thankful that God has placed on this road.  To be there and watch these amazing character changes happening, to see my boys learning and branching out had been a huge blessing to me.   I am so excited to share this journey with you, my dear friends. Lots of love, Kristine

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