|Kyle, Brendan and Shane|
As if the transformation from boy to man isn't difficult enough, add on the social pressures, hormonal changes, and well meaning parents and it's the making of a perfect storm.
(This post was shared with Kyle prior to my posting.)
This isn't going to be an easy post, but I feel strongly that I have a small voice and if I can help someone else....well, you understand. This has been, hands down the most difficult year of Kyle's life. As most know, Kyle is my son who was diagnosed at 3 years old with PDD-NOS (a spectrum disorder). Recently the Lord has been revealing His Word to me as it relates to our body, mind and spirit. The Lord brought to my memory today of words I've spoken in the past - words that both Kyle and I had to reread. Here is that post - He's My Superhero.
This past year Kyle has been under certain torment. Imagine the square peg in a round hole. He was finding it easier to be "himself" among people that do not know him, that can not see him, and that only know him by the words he types on a screen. So as a parent you see a pull to this environment, you naturally want to limit his exposure because after all, "these people aren't really your friends Kyle," you don't really know who they are...they are...words typed on a screen.
So, I may not know everything there is to know about all things techy, but that is why I work extra hard to be sure I'm on and in everything my kids do. They know that with every device they have - I have the ability to access it at any given time. That's the way its done around here. I had a parent tell me that their child would not appreciate knowing that I can look at a chat that they're involved in. Well, sorry - pick up the telephone and chat the old fashioned way...I'm not listening to phone calls. We all need accountability....and they are all minors. Anyway, with that said I had read some of the most beautiful words written by my son to others in this building game that he plays. His heart for people astounds me. His heartfelt prayers for people....I know it is kind of a ministry for him. However, he was getting lost in that world. I had to help bring him back.
We went to counseling and he was/is loved by his counselor. She adores him. Kyle will tell you, he had so much anger pent up inside of him. He would lash out, uncontrollably. We started not to recognize him at all.
Mike and I tried to help him by showing him different ways to handle himself. In the most loving way a parent can, we would try to help Kyle "change" so he could perhaps be more socially accepted. We didn't understand. An example would be, Kyle had this "thing" where he would want to give everyone a high five but at the last minute move his hand so you would miss. Okay, not bad right? Well, not the first 20 times, but after a while we kept thinking, everyone is going to get so tired of this. Or his crazy dancing that he would do - people may think that is odd or goofy. So we would suggest, "hey buddy, why don't you try to mix it up a bit, surprise people, shake their hand instead." Things like that. We would try to give him alternatives. Different ways to help him, so he didn't "stand out" because he was different. We just wanted him to feel loved by others. We wanted him to feel accepted, like he had friends. We were afraid that kids were not wanting to be around him. He didn't want to go to co-op, church anywhere...he just wanted to stay home and be with his online friends. We were just trying to get him to hold back on the things we interpreted as "unusual behavior" or "awkward".
All the while, not understanding what was happening, we were trying to squeeze this very special peg in to a box that he wasn't ever meant to fit into. Well, that's painful isn't it. When the counselor said to us, "You are probably the only people who think Kyle has to change, everybody else in that youth group, or co-op or anyone that knows Kyle is not expecting Kyle to be any different." I wept and wept. My son, who was tired of living, who told me it would be better if he were not alive and if he went to be with Jesus. My boy who smiles and makes people around him smile, was dying on the inside...and the people who love him the most were just trying to make him into something he was not. As if what he is...wasn't enough. OUCH!
He is enough. He is perfect. He is a teenage boy, with a sense of humor, a style of his own. He is this child who marches to the beat of his own drum. The same boy who drew this 5 years ago...