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It's that time of year again, the yearly IEP meeting. I'd already decided that my son would be attending another school in the fall. I knew there would be things I disagreed with. I'm that kind of mommy. I always want more information than I get, more collaboration than I get, more interaction than I get. But for this meeting, I planned to be quiet. I decided to save my energy for the new school, and shared as much with the school district representative, who chairs the meeting. I even decided to participate by phone, so that I would be less tempted!
Give up?It went well and I (mostly) remained quiet. I was tempted to break my rule when a therapist interjected this sentence into her effusive praise of my son: 'He was making inconsistent progress with this goal, so we discontinued it'. Discontinued it?? Not 'We are exploring new strategies' or 'We are assessing him to find out the more foundational goals we need so we can provide him with some scaffolding' or even 'We don't think this goal is useful for him in his life'. Just ...discontinued.
While I am tempted to tear a strip off the school, the district and departments of education everywhere, I had to stop and think about my own approach to things that are hard. Sometimes, the strategy that I'm working isn't working. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a corner and there 's no way forward. Sometimes I think the best solution is to just stop. Discontinue the goal.
Yes, Because It's ImpossibleI wonder if that's what it felt like to stand in front of the Red Sea? A well equipped army is chasing you, intent on your demise and you meet up with a SEA. Personally, I can't swim, but even if I could, my kids, my mom who's 70? my son with autism? How would we cross it? It's impossible. The only option seems to be to give up. Standing in front of the Red Sea, I don't have the bird's eye view to the other side. I have no clue that it's even possible for the water to part. But it did part, and something that wasn't possible, because I didn't have all the information, happened. Like the lamb coming up the other side of the mountain for Abraham. Like the angel army surrounding Elisha and his servant. There's just stuff we don't know.
- Sometimes we don't know because we don't see it yet. Sometimes our senses aren't tuned and we just aren't paying attention to all the clues around us. I'm sure you've had that experience of looking for the glasses on your face or the sugar bowl that's sitting right in front of you. Sometimes our distraction stops us from seeing. A funny aside is the story of the street paving team who paved over a deer because they didn't see it. Yup. It really happened, and they insist they didn't see it, and I believe them. Sometimes we aren't paying attention.
- Sometimes we don't know because we can't know yet. I don't know about the giant wind that coming to blow the Red Sea away (or whatever explanation others have offered) and I don't know about the new client that I'm getting tomorrow to cover the deadline I see today. I can't always know how God's coming through.
- Sometimes we'll never know. Sometimes the solution is invisible to me and maybe only in a face to face conversation with Jesus will I know.
Some goals should be discontinued. But, if God gave you that goal, stay with it, like Moses who "persevered because he saw him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27) Commit to tuning in, so you can see what's there, preparing and anticipating the breakthroughs to come, and then standing and holding your ground until you hear otherwise even if the doctors, departments of education and other experts say otherwise.