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01/15/2013

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Big K

There is no "normal". I've only recently figured out myself that normal is only what you think it is or have observed to be around you. What your not seeing behind other peoples closed doors is not being incorporated into your perception of normal.

You and I are much alike though your a bit more extream than I in alot of your abilities. But I struggled socially in school (all until College) was very depressed especially through high school, and really didn't start to come out of that until college. I struggled for the popularity/acceptance in high school, though wasn't good at the social game, I was smart enough to try and manipulate things around me, which I've also only recently figured out, unless your good at it and I'm not, will likely end up making things worse.

I too struggle with our oldest "E" whom I would say is probably similar to nathan and him as you and I, that Nathan is probably a bit more extream in his abilities, but I foresee E also struggleing socally, and we've already had struggles with him.

So I don't claim to have any answers for you but here are my thoughts/suggestions, take them as a grain of salt. 1. You don't want him to get board, so keep him mentally challenged, if that means extra stuff at home or allowing him to go into the AP program. 2. Find some way to try and grow and develop him socially, or at least expose him to social envrionments. We've been considering signing E up for soccer to kind of force him to play well with others. We have parent/teacher conferences next week and I expect to hear that he primarily plays alone, which was much like me. 3. Don't worry so much about what normal is, only that he will have to learn to function in "normal".

I would also say that because you are worried about him, his future, that that alone proves that you are a good parent. I find myself also yelling too, often in frustration, anger, irritation, stress, whatever you want to call it, and after I've cooled off I feel terrible. (I often wonder if this is the "normal" that you don't see.) Depending on the situation I've even gone back and talked to them after I've cooled down and told them I was sorry that I got upset.

My thoughts are also often scattered and random, so hopefully what I've written makes some sense, and you can decrypt it.

Ruth

Well, your kiddo is older than mine, so you should be the one giving me advice, but I can definitely relate. Nathaniel just turned 6, he's in 1st grade (about 6-12 months younger than everyone else), the schoolwork I have him in is 2nd grade, and he's pretty much finished with everything for the year except Math. Face it, they are never going to be normal.

One thing I heard at the homeschool convention that I really appreciated is that you should stretch kids across rather than up and down. In other words, instead of jumping to 3rd grade at this point, we're studying animal science, and music, and bible, and things like that which are more of electives than core subjects. So you broaden their horizons rather than always jumping them up a grade. Of course, you want to keep them at a level where there is some challenge, but not have them graduating college at 12 :)

weddlec

It's a tough decision. I definitely don't see normal as any kind of badge of honor or something to strive for. Just remember that living in society emotional maturity often trumps intellectual prowess. I know many people who are very advanced in some ways but handicapped I others. I think we all end up that way to some extent. I have always been very prideful about my differences in regards to "normal" people, yet at the end of the day I myself am not that atypical myself. I like my differences because they set me apart, but they have never really hindered me. Just make sure he has a chance to have fun and build memories with his peers. I myself had a chance to graduate a year early and start college early, but stayed behind another year to enjoy the "high school" experience with my friends and have never regretted it. Hanging back, however, does not guarantee good experiences though. Will be praying for you guys.

Jenny hunter

I like that stretch across idea Ruth. Hadn't heard that before. Although I feel like it is so hard to give him the focus and attention he deserves and needs when there are three other munchkins running around "needing" me. I really feel like if I had one or two kids I probably would be considering homeschooling him. I think he would benefit from that. I just can't imagine trying to right now. I feel pulled in so many directions.

Hez

"I've had a weird brain defect as far as I can remember that gives me the ability to remember smells, and sounds, and think in colors, and work problems (and write cursive) backwards, and I probably remember what you wore the first time we met."

Smart man once told me don't judge others from your place of strength. I would add to that don't judge yourself from your place of weakness. All of us likely wish our brains worked a different way than they do.

All of us I think could tell you if asked what in our opinions our parents did wrong and for all of us who are parents I think we'd all agree we've had our own #FAIL moments. If you read Exodus 20:5-6 it talks about the sins of the father carrying over 4-5 generations to follow but the righteousness of the father carries blessings for thousands of generations to follow. To me that scripture is both a warning but also brings great hope. We are all recipients of the mistakes of not just our fathers but our forefathers as well. It's a strange concept logically that we should find ourselves doing what it is we hated that our parents did, yet I know I personally have caught myself saying things to my children exactly how my father used to say them to me. Imperfect though we are the good things we pass on to our children far outweigh the bad. We can't take back what is done but we can humble ourselves to admit to our children when we have been wrong. It's important for them to know when we were out of line or have made mistakes. It's important that we teach them how to avoid making those same mistakes.

Rachel & I took a young married couples Bible study when we first got married & someone said something in that class that I'll never forget. They were talking about dealing with conflict in marriage & how most of us deal with it how we learned to from our parents. If your parents tended to fight in secret you tended to live under the false impression that they never had conflict. Just to clarify fighting in secret is not the same as fighting in private, by secret I mean they didn't even let their kids be aware they were fighting at all. Your kids need to know that you do fight but they don't need to sit & listen to the whole argument. The result is that people get married & the first time they face conflict they become overwhelmed by it believing that it is a sign something is horribly wrong with their marriage. The other thing that parents sometimes do is fight in front of their kids but then never resolve conflict in front of them, the result being that when you do face conflict in your marriage you have learned how to dish it out but not how to resolve it. It's important that we have a layer of transparency with our kids, they learn more from our actions than they do from anything else. If we humble ourselves to them they won't lose respect for us, they will mimic our humility.

When I was 13 my Dad got in a horrible car accident. At the time I had a lot of hate & resentment towards him. He suffered temporary brain damage & because of this he was forced to rebuild certain aspects of his personality & motor skills. I'll never forget him coming to me one day, in utter tears, apologizing to me about how he used to treat me. He felt like an utterly broken & horrible man, but that is not how I saw him. There had never been a moment I had more respect & love for him, to this day I tear up just thinking about it. In that moment I knew 2 things. The first was that my father didn't yell at me because I was a failure but because he was an imperfect father. Second was that I was ok with that & wouldn't trade him for any father in the world.

It didn't just end there, as I got older the openness continued. My Dad began a relationship with me of openness & transparency. Flawed though he was I respected him (still do) & learned from his wisdom. I now pass that wisdom on to my children and try to exemplify to them that same openness. Most importantly I impart my faith to them so that which I can not teach them they will glean from our Father in Heaven.

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