Behind starburst eyes

Value and Worth Aren’t The Same

I’ve noticed that many people seem to be attracted to or pulled towards those that see their value. Western society seems to equate someone noticing all we could do for them with importance and therefore we crave our value being recognized by others.

What I’ve also noticed is that we seem to view our value to others as being the same as our worth. Only, I don’t see it that way. For me, my value is what I can do for another, my worth is what I bring to the table as a whole. One is about what I can do for them, the other is simply about me as a person.

For example, when Mr.N was a year old my value to him high as he needed allot of things because he was only a baby, but my worth was low because I was not viewed as an individual so much as I was the provider of food, comfort, clean diapers and security. However, now at almost 10, he can feed himself, cook basic meals, wash and dress himself and so on and so my value is lower but my worth is higher because he sees more of who I am as a person. This is a natural progression for children of course.

However, I think for many adults we still get stuck looking and evaluating people based on their value instead of their worth. Basically, we get stuck focusing on what specific dishes they bring to our table that we can consume instead of the worth they bring to our table with their presence.

While I’m sure part of this is due to a primitive survival mechanism that makes us seek out those that can help us have a better life (or thrive), I wonder if it’s something we need to consider as no longer inherently necessary.

How much better would it be if we attempted to develop relationships (platonic as well as romantic) with those who’s worth we saw instead? Would we be happier overall if we stopped focusing on what others can actively do for us and intentionally developed relationships based on the worth we saw within others instead?

I ponder these things because secretly adults that primarily view my value feel like a burden to be honest, I feel like the only reason they ask me to their table is for what I can provide that they will use/consume. I want to be invited because they see my worth as a whole person, not for what I can do for them, and I don’t view my value to another and my worth as a person to be the same thing.

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NOT leaving on a jet plane

Awhile back I stated I wanted to take a figurative big leap, and I did, well I started too…I bought 5 plane tickets to Portugal, and then plane or bus tickets to 15 more countries for a trip spanning 4 months. I researched different places, museums, historical sites, UNESCO World Heritage sites, different travel sites innumerable “top 10 places/things to do” downloaded walking tour apps, street and local transit maps for each place we’d go to, and booked places for us to stay. I was SO excited!

Then Covid-19 struck the world ūüė¶ As of writing this over 100,000 people have lost their lives to this pandemic…I can’t even begin to express my sorrow for the families of those who have passed from it.

Over the past two months our family has attempted to adjust and get through this time of uncertainty, fear and social distancing. It hasn’t always been easy or pretty. I chose an apartment because I didn’t want to pay more for a house with a big backyard when “the world was our backyard”. Instead we went and did all sorts of things, played at parks, used our local libraries, went on nature walks at conservations, and so on. But for many weeks now all of those options have been closed to all residents of our province (as they are in many countries worldwide).

Slowly the cancellation emails came from the airlines, only 2 flights have received refunds, the rest are credits for future travel. While there have been many messages back and forth for various Airbnb stays 3/4 of the reservations have been refunded to us, and I’m still attempting to receive the rest at least as credits.

So now what? Our grand adventure has been put on hold for an indefinite period of time, and we’re in an apt with no backyard of our own for the kids to run around in.

Well now a new adventure begins, because I can curl up and cry about our cancelled plans (okay I might have already done that a time or 2) or I can do something else. Stay tuned dear readers for my next wild plan!

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It’s not freedom if they can’t chose for themselves

I’ve read many things online lately that speak of the acceptance debate about Autism right now. Numerous of those articles say things like¬†“It’s not true acceptance of the person if you try to teach them social skills, because that’s just trying to change them, not accept them the way they are” I disagree with that idea.

 

For me personally, I feel that teaching all the social skills as they are now called to my Autistic sons is akin to teaching spanish to my children who were born speaking english. Why would a parent do that? What could be gained from a child learning a second language? You guessed it, they could communicate effectively to gain what they needed from a vast array of situations with more people than if they only spoke one language. Does teaching them spanish imply that¬†their first language and native tongue will always be less than the second one they were taught? NO it doesn’t. Does teaching them spanish mean that I will not listen to them or converse with them if they speak in english instead? NO it doesn’t. It means that should they decide at any given time that speaking in spanish would be more effective in a specific situation for them to obtain what they want or need that they can. Not that they have too, just that they have the option to express themselves in both languages, and that they can choose either option at their own discretion.

 

I think the difference between what I believe and the persons stating it’s not acceptance if you teach “NT” social skills to your autistic child is that I’m NOT saying they HAVE to use what I’ve taught them, I also plan on teaching them how to bake a cake from scratch, doesn’t mean once they’ve learnt how to do so that from morning till night they have to bake cakes non-stop. It just means if they want too they can, and I’m ALL about them having the freedom to choose, but it’s not freedom to choose if they aren’t allowed to explore all their options and then choose which one/s are best for them specifically. I also won’t teach them that they are wrong or less for their natural state or “native tongue” to continue with my original metaphor, just a simple statement of fact that it might be useful to also know this language in addition to your own.

When I teach a “social skill” I explain in detail what the general perception is, what my perception is, and encourage their own thoughts and feelings to be discussed about it. Such as when my eldest wanted to wear his transformer’s costume to the mall in May. I asked why first and he said because it’s fun to pretend he’s Optimus Prime and he loves how soft the costume is his Aunt and Uncle got him. I told him I agreed it is fun to pretend, and it is a very soft costume. I also told him it was perfectly fine with me. I did explain that some people might think it was strange that he was wearing a costume when it wasn’t close to Halloween and they might say something unkind or mean to him because of it. But that I knew how much fun it was to dress up and that as long as he understood that might happen I was proud to hold his hand in any mall while he wore any outfit he could find. He decided he’d wear it, and when there was a rude comment about it he replied “I’m wearing it so only my thoughts on my costume matter” and off we continued in the mall.

SO I did not force “NT” social skills, nor suggest that I felt he was wrong or bad for his choice. I reinforced my unconditional love and acceptance for him exactly as he is, but also told him the truth of how it might be perceived to allow him the choice of “did other’s perceptions of him matter to him in these circumstances” clearly that moment showed a definitive no, but at other times it might be a yes and that’s okay. Because it’s still allowing his feelings,¬†thoughts and wants to ultimately dictate his actions, which is exactly as I think it should be.

But one of the things that I’ve read and seen in my own sons time and time again is that the inferred portion of any interaction is not always understood or picked up on. So it’s my job as their first teacher to teach them all of the hidden things they don’t automatically pick up on and then let them decide how they wish to proceed. That to me is the true definition of parenting, to help them understand everything and decide what is best for them personally from there.

I parent this way because I started with one¬†goal in mind¬†for all of my¬†parenting choices¬†“to ensure my children’s happiness” Then I simply work backwards from that goal by asking “What will make¬†them happy?” or “Will ______ make them happy?” Sometimes¬†I know, and sometimes I have to either ask them or watch and see. I then¬†base my choices from that, because¬†it’s not about what makes me happy, it’s about them. They are first, as they¬†should be.

For example my youngest son has no interest in other children his own age, while I know¬†that some people¬†feel I should “encourage” read force him to interact with other children¬†to make him more social and therefore more socially acceptable I don’t. I bring him to places with our family because he is an integral part of our family, but if¬†his¬†bliss is to spin the wheels of his¬†toy cars and not¬†play with other children his age that are around him I’m fine with¬†that. Why, because he’s happy. And all I want¬†is his happiness.¬†I truly believe that both of their happiness, heck¬†anyone’s is based on being able to have their wants and needs¬†met on a¬†consistent basis. So yes I’ll continue to speak in english with them, while I also teach them spanish so they can¬†decide which¬†is right for them to be heard¬†clearly and their needs and wants to be met in¬†the manners they wish for¬†them to be.

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