Rule # 29: Celebrate the small victories
Note: This is a continuation of the “Light it up Blue” series of rules focus on the rules connected with living with Autism. Abby’s 11th birthday is tomorrow and she inspired this posting as I left her off for school today. ( Happy Birthday Abby)
I have found that the world is filled with a lot very negative people that find joy in crushing people’s dreams and making fun of others’ achievements. I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense to you Abby, but some people like to watch other people fail.
I think this comes from having their own lives belittled by others.
When you think about the people who make fun of people that are different or special they always seem sad and lonely. Yes, sometimes these people can enourage other people to laugh at their mean comments, but the laugher dies really quickly and the what is left is an awkard emptiness of unlying shame. I think these people know what they are doing is wrong they just don’t know how to stop it.
I remember once when a group a kids in 3rd grade asked you show a dance you had learned, a teacher had to take you aside and explain that ther girls were really making fun of you. I expected that you would be sad and hurt by what they did, instead you you said ” I don’t understand them” and ” I feel sorry for them”. You didn’t cry or seem upset, rather you had the special view of seeing these girls like you would see a group of animals in a zoo doing something you didn’t understand. You couldn’t understand what someone could get out of hurting someone else, it didn’t hurt you – it confused you, it didn’t make sense to you.
There’s a lot of things about aspergers that make you special, many of them are very good. The inability to understand cruelty is one of the most special- I wish everyone had that part of austism. The world would be a much nicer place.
On this blog I wrote a rule #111 that said that not everyone deserves a trophy. When I wrote that it was because I saw people trying to celebrate average and make it seem great by calling it great.
You always get great grades, particularly in math, a less than 100% usually disappoints you. In that rule I was saying that people shouldn’t starting givings A’s for getting 70% correct- that doing well should be hard, and require effort. I think that rule is important and applies to you and other people with special needs too.
But what I forgot to say is that even though bar shouldn’t be lowered so that everyone one wins, celebrating the personal victories in life are where a lot of life’s joys come from. Getting personally better is important to celebrate, even if it doesn’t hit the trophy level.
Today you reminded me of that as you got out of the car and headed for the first gym day.
At the beginning of the summer you said you were tried of not being able to wear shorts or sneakers because of the way it felt on you. We have always understood how the “feel” of clothing could makes wearing some of these things physically painful on you because of the way you process these feelings in your brain.
So when you made this announcement we sort of expected you’d give it a try, but in the end be back into the crocs and yoga pants that have been staple of the “Abby wardrob” over the last couple years. But quitely you began to wear the short for longer and longer times, and began to wear sneakers for short periods of time.
I remember a couple mornings in the summer finding you in bed with shorts and sneakers- you told me you were trying to get use to them- to work through the pain.
This morning as I saw you leave my car , carrying your backpack and wearing shorts and sneakers I realized that you have accomplished something that should be celebrated and remembered.
It made me think of the the first time I saw Rachel stop a goal in field hockey, or seeing Collin make a tackle in football or Matthew bringing hone a well written paper in high school. None of these were “trophy” moments, but they were personal victories that each of you achieved on your own with little help from your parents. These were small personal victories.
As I saw you run into the school I wanted to run out and catch up to you and give you a high five for your clothing victory. ( I only didn’t because at 53 I don’t think I would have been able to catch up)
Its important that you celebrate the small peronal victories- setting a goal and achieving all on your own can go completely un-noticed by others. People , even Dads , can miss these victories because we are so involved with getting through the day we miss these really special victories.
Congratulations on your victory over shorts and sneakers! Keep setting those goals and remember to celebrate the wins- that’s where joy comes from- inside you.
( oh, and thanks for the rule- I’ll try to remember it)