One of the most helpful things I ever learned in counseling was to try to limit my use of “never” and “always” when thinking and speaking about feelings.
If you just broke into the theme song from the Broadway show “Cats”, I feel you.
If not, neither did I.
Sweetboy has a tendency to take his emotions to the extreme. Words like always and never get lots of use. Sometimes, they are warranted. Most times, though, they’re just not.
We’ve had to work incredibly hard to curb his use of these words. It’s a tricky process. When he’s in the throes of a meltdown, for instance, and ranting about how unlucky he always is, it’s a dicey proposition to step in and attempt to stem the tide of always or never.
He’s getting there.
Slowly, but surely.
Lately, we’ve had to work a lot more on the “why” behind his use of these polarizing words. Why, as in, “Why do you feel like you are always a nobody?”
It turns out that there are some girls, some 4th grade girls, some not-even-in-his-class girls, who have been saying things to him on the playground. Things like, “Your shirt and shorts don’t even match, you know!“
For a kid who’s finally broken through to that dreaded other side of social understanding that now knows there is a social pecking order, those sorts of comments are devastating.
Especially when you are an always and never kind of kid.
Each time that Sweetboy encounters some slight at the hands of his classmates, (And it happens more and more, in these past few months of fourth grade.), he feels it very deeply.
His emotions run high, and that’s only somewhat because of his ASD. It’s mostly because he’s my child.
Just keepin’ it real.
Honestly, though, I’d like to know who doesn’t go all Mama Bear when other kids pick on their children. Really! Show me a mom that exhibits loving-kindness in that kind of social situation, and I would like her to become my mentor.
Determining that turning the other cheek is the right course of action is generally not so hard for me.
Actually turning the other cheek?
That takes some prayerful effort.
Turning the other cheek when the circumstances involve my children?
I know what the right answer is… I do!
Thankfully, I didn’t have to give it.
“That’s not a nice thing to say,” he told them. “Besides, they’re just clothes.”
The boy up and turned his cheek all by himself.
And, while I’d love to pick up the phone and ask these mothers, both of whom I am acquainted with around town, if they are aware that their girls are speaking to another child this way, I won’t.
Instead, I’ll turn the other cheek.
Because, God knew it would take my Sweetboy to plant that particular lesson a little more firmly in this thick head of mine.
I’m learning that the answer to the question of when to turn the other cheek, is one simple word.