The first day of the twelfth week was a great one for Justus! And lest you think I’m simply being an optimist, the word out of Randall confirms my analysis. Before I share with you the highlight (remember, we view everything through a lens that continues to pray for a complete healing) from today, I want to share with you a great life lesson for us courtesy of… Justus!
The reports from the therapists seem to consistently speak of his ability and willingness to work really hard. He focuses and it is obvious to everyone that he is really trying to do whatever is being asked of him. That is all good news and has obviously been responsible for the amazing progress he has made in such a short time. But (there’s always a but!), we were warned today about a potential downside. One of his therapists (that’s easier than continually trying to remember if it was his Physical, Occupational, or Speech therapist J) cautioned us about literally overloading him. Because he was spending so much of the day working hard and following directions in therapy, the fear is if we (the family) continue to push (especially if he gets a pass to go home), he will continue to try. The problem is, his system will overload and he won’t be able to do anything.
Her suggestion was to stay away from performance questions and asking him to do more. For instance instead of saying, “Justus, I love your helmet. What stickers do you have on your helmet?” We should say, “Justus, I love your helmet. Look, you’ve got an Oregon sticker, and a USC sticker (really Alyse?)” Actually, you don’t say the “really Alyse” part, that’s just for her. The therapist told us be a “journalist” and “report” everything that is happening rather than being an “investigator”. For the record… this might be the hardest task the hospital has given our family yet! You might have noticed that we are a bit competitive and slightly achievement focused. That’s a confession by the way, not a brag!
I realize Justus’ situation is unique, he’s recovering from a brain illness. But the principle is the same for all of our kids. I remember days when my kids would come off the football field after a long practice and I’d start grilling them on the way home about what we’d worked on for 2 hours on the field. You’d think watching their eyes rolling to the back of their head would have been a clue, but when you’re trying to be successful, you keep pushing! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hard work and maximizing potential. But I’ve found my kids are much better served when I tell them how much I enjoy watching them play. Even today I struggle with playing investigator with my kids after a full day of school. How was school? Did you have any tests? Did you remember your homework? How’s your grade in math? Can you say “overload!”
Again, I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t push our kids to be excellent, but this is a reminder for me to be more of a journalist with my kids. In fact I want to become a “Journalist for Jesus!” I want to start seeing my kids the way Jesus sees them. The bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Just recently I’ve been with some young people that struggle with a sense of self-worth. I’m not naïve enough to think by simply becoming a journalist for Jesus, I’ll fix their problems; but it can’t hurt. What if I were to regularly remind them how special they are. What if we pointed out the special gifts God has given them? And by the way, it’s not just parents who can do this – you can be a journalist for Jesus with all the people God has placed in your path. I need to make an important distinction right here. It’s important we not give our kids false praise – in other words rewarding them for things they aren’t really doing. I’m talking about asking God to let you see them the way He sees them.
Just like in our conversation about community (http://axisministries.org/day-76-24-going-through-the-storm-with-community/), it’s not about ignoring those places we need to work on. It’s about making sure we’re full of grace, we consider timing when dealing with those issues, and it’s about balancing all the correction and pushing with affirmation and compliments. Proverbs 22:6 says to “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” One of the key principles this verse speaks of is the idea of seeing our kids through God’s eyes and then training them up in the way they should go… in other words, the way God has uniquely gifted and wired them to be. The truth is, the only way to do that is to become a journalist for Jesus – to tell them what you see in them!
I can’t wait to get back to Randall this weekend to start practicing with Justus. I can’t wait to tell him what I’m seeing from all of his hard work. In the mean time, I’m going to work to do better with my four school age kids. Please continue praying for Justus’ swallowing. He’s graduated from needing regular RT (respiratory therapy), which is such good news, but he still needs to get stronger in the area of swallowing and handling his secretions. Thanks again #TeamJustus… oh wait… I almost forgot. I told you there was a highlight from today. Not only does his walking motion seem to be getting better each day, today he walked (with support) 150 steps… more than he’s ever done! I think that kind of work deserves a little less investigating and a little more reporting! “Justus, when I see you, I see a strong ninja warrior. I see a hard working young boy that has challenged me to be more of who God has created me to be.”
Thanks for reading… signing off… David ~ Journalist for Jesus!