Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Freedom of Indepdendence

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
~ Galatians 5:1, MSG ~ 

Patriotic.  That's us.  Imparting to our children since their little years the value of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Teaching them to treasure and guard their freedoms and rights as American citizens.

It takes on a certain quality of romance around the Fourth of July holiday.

In every day practical living, it can be much more difficult.

Raising a child with chronic illness or special needs, the word "independence" can make our stomach churn or our heart skip a few beats. 
We want the best for our kids -- living as happy adults, active and productive to the best of their abilities.  Yet, letting go of control can be SUCH a difficult thing for us parents when our kids have that extra layer of vulnerability.

Control can be the opposite of freedom and independence, especially when it comes to giving that control over to others.  It may start with that tension that comes when we won't let others care for our child because no one can do it the way we can.  Even a spouse can become an enemy because they aren't doing a treatment, therapy or even daily routine exactly like we would.  Not to pick on mothers, but far too many place heavy burdens on themselves by insisting that they be the sole providers of injections, physical therapies, in-home treatments, medication schedules, and basic daily care.  This restricts both their own freedom and the freedom of their children.

What happens if something happens to Mom in a scenario like this?

While it can be incredibly frightening, we give both ourselves and our children a huge gift -- the freedom of independence -- when we let go and let others in.  It begins by allowing a spouse, friend or relative to be involved in our child's care.  They will not do things exactly the way we do, and it will be okay.  With adequate training, we can be sure that our child will survive the care of others.  We must learn to shut our mouths and be satisfied that "good enough is good enough".

The next step is teaching our child self-care.  This means that we allow our child the latitude to make mistakes.  Sometimes the most impactful lesson a child can learn on their own comes from missing a scheduled treatment or forgetting a medication.  The sooner we allow this to happen under our own roofs, the better equipped our child will be for independent living when the time arrives.  What a gift to be able to be there, catching them when they fall in the area of self-care and responsibility!

Aside from making mistakes, our child can develop new and better ways of doing things.  They develop preferences of their own, blossoming into the remarkable individuals we dreamed they would be.

Parents, take heart!  I have watched the 3 rascals pictured above [ages 9, 6 and 4 at the time] gain the freedom of independence, and I can assure you it is a beautiful thing.  The eldest is now driving on her own, making choices about her daily treatment, and is even directly involved in picking out a new specialist.  The middle child is administering his own intravenous infusion treatments, ordering his own clotting factor and ancillary supplies, and surviving the bad choice of sometimes riding without his bike helmet.  The youngest is gaining self-awareness, learning to articulate needs, and also mastering new self-care skills.

As a result, they are growing into the remarkable individuals God made them to be.  Fear dissipates and confidence strengthens in ALL of us as they march towards the goals that they were meant to achieve.  I gain increased sanity, satisfaction and serenity as well.  What gifts!

This year, as we celebrate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, determine to make it way of living for you and your children, not just a patriotic holiday cliche.

PRAY:  Jesus, You came to set us free -- free from sin, death and destruction.  You came to give us Your very best.  Now help us walk in that freedom rather than fear, especially when it comes to caring for our remarkable kids.

~ Barb Dittrich

1 comment:

  1. Darling picture of your three challenges! You are spot on! Thanks!