Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A BIG Shout-Out for Parents!

CBS and ABC news are reporting a horrifying incident in New York city yesterday around 2 PM. A 7-year-old little girl, who her mother thought was sleeping, apparently crawled out her bedroom window and was dancing on the window air conditioning unit. (The entire sequence is captured on video.) THREE STORIES UP. She slipped and fell three stories. A bus driver named Steven St. Bernard saw her falling. When he was interviewed yesterday said, I just prayed, "Lord, please help me catch her." He did catch her with God's help.

That is wonderful but not the focus of this post. "The rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say: This little girl has autism. The focus of my heart today is that there are thousands and more children under the age of 18 in the United States (Some sources say as high as 1 in every 88 children somewhere on the autism spectrum.) who have some form of autism.

These children have parents. Usually one or more of their parents are participating in caring for this child which is often an extremely challenging and extremely intense responsibility. Like for the little girl's mother, just a moment can make all the difference.

I know personally that just about any child can get into risky situations. One of my sons has been a risk-taker from birth including being born three months early. Just one story: when he was six he hid behind my car and I backed over him accidentally. I could tell a thousand or more other stories that are almost as dramatic. Fortunately God took care of both of us like He did this little girl! No question that Mr. St. Bernard was in the right place at the right time by God's design.

I totally get that even vigilant parents cannot always prevent accidents. It's like what my grandmother used to say, It is much harder to raise race horses than cabbages but then you have more when you get through! My guess is that this little 7-year-old is a race horse just like my son!

This mother probably has many, many challenges with her daughter. The point of this post is to raise awareness in some small way for the parents of children everywhere and especially children with some form of autism. These moms and dads are heroes in my book! They face exhausting challenges all day long!

The challenge for the rest of us is to search out ways to encourage these parents!

My sister and her husband are care-takers for my very fragile 91-year-old parents. It is a 24/7 kind of job that requires incredible love, vigilance and energy! I recently spent a week helping and came home exhausted! During that week I realized that a very important thing to do was and is to encourage and appreciate my sister and her husband! I know they were grateful for two more hands, but I also know they appreciated the encouragement I could offer with words and actions.

As with the old TV show, Mission Impossible - Your mission for today (and beyond) - if you choose to accept it - is to do what you can to support a parent with a special needs child especially a child with autism!. Here's a great big shout-out for them far and wide!

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