Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Show Me The Way

You make the path of life known to me
 In your presence there is complete joy.
~ Acts 2:28, GW ~

Time and time again throughout the special needs parenting journey, my husband and I have found that the most valuable information comes from other parents.  The most renowned experts in any given area of medicine, psychology or education can offer new breakthroughs in science and methodology.  Yet, they never seem to strengthen as does someone who has walked a mile in your shoes.  And since sometimes our adversary can be the doctor or the school, those who have faced those challenges can often bless us with the best tips, suggestions or questions to ask.

I will never forget our first IEP meeting for one of our children.  We were so grateful to have input from other parents who had already been through the grueling process many times.  One friend recommended setting the right tone by bringing treats for the team.  Another cautioned not to sign anything in the first meeting.  While yet another urged us to bring the psychotherapist to help the team understand the unique diagnosis of PTSD.  All of these ideas made the experience go far better than we could have hoped.

Because of our own personal experiences like the one described above, the motivation has been great to build and foster our organization's new Parent Mentor Program.  We want every parent to have that helping hand from someone who is doing life right beside them.  That peer can inspire emotional, practical and spiritual growth in life-changing and live-saving ways.

When our curriculum committee came together 2 years ago to develop the Parent Mentor Program, we did an exercise early on in the process to define what a mentor is in 1 word.  This is what our team came up with:

~Encourager   ~Growing  ~Equipped   ~Compassionate  ~Learner  ~Has Boundaries  ~Encouraged  ~Discrete  ~Confident  ~Discerning  ~Humble  ~Mature  ~Unashamed  ~Pray-er  ~Knows limits  ~Seeker  ~Is dependent on Christ  ~Not world-focused, but God focused  ~Knows when to ask for help  (Using more than 1 word at the end.)

Wouldn't these be wonderful qualities to find in someone willing to come alongside you?  What a treasure to build a new ongoing relationship with another parent who may be a step or two ahead of you on this challenging journey.  How blessed you and that mentor would be to grow as parents and as children of God.  When the road is frightening and the way unknown, your mentor can help show you the way.  Wouldn't the validation and encouragement of cheering one another on as we raise these precious kids be refreshing? 

We are thrilled to have our first classed of intensely trained mentors ready to take flight.  They are each remarkable parents in their own right with much to offer.  If you feel that you might like a parent mentor to come alongside you in your life of parenting a child with special needs, give the below program summary a look.  If it sounds like something you would appreciate, please get in touch with us at barb@snappin.org.  We will happily pair you with a mentor from this class or from one of the upcoming classes.


PRAY:  Lord, help me discern whether a mentor might be just the thing I need right now in my parenting journey.  Show me the way.  And motivate me to take the right steps to take care of myself as I care for my child.


Top Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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