I try to do this often. Reflection is important because it allows me to step back and see what's really there. Taking time to think about To think about what Bob has been through the last year or even the last few years. Bob is a trooper, but then I have been, too.
I came across this quote by Garrison Kriellor who wrote: "Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted."
Taking time to Reflect is Hard
Parenting a child with mental illness is a struggle. Not only with the grades, but also with behavior and mental health status. We parents go through so much just to make it through each day. So how can we possibly have time for reflection.
I don't know about you, but I wonder if I've wasted countless words, thoughts and actions to help Bob function well. Even me, the professional therapist who works with families everyday. Whereever I can get it, I steal time to reflect on Bob, his behavior, his mental health, everything. Two minutes during my walk to the train station or going up the stairs at work. I steal time for reflection.
My Reflection Discovery
This past week was Bob's last week of 6th grade. I officially have a 7th grader. He earned decent grades, was accepted into a summer prep program for high school and made it through another year. Thank goodness.
Sometimes, reflection time left me frustrated and upset because things changed just as they improved. With his medication not working, his ability to focus and organize changed for the worse. At other times, reflection allowed me to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year. Like an A on a history project or other acknowledgment of his hard work.
Calm down with Reflection
Even as I sit here typing - waiting for Bob to wash up, frustrated, I've been reflecting on the above quote. Nothing we do is wasted as parents. Not all the phone calls, arguments, tantrums, none of it is wasted. Meetings with psychiatrists, therapists, teachers, police, hospital workers, etc. It feels thankless. Usually, I don't get a 'thank you' from Bob. Most of the time, he's asking for things or playing with his Yuh-gi-oh cards. But, at least I know what I do isn't a waste of my time. The quote tells me that. My time isn't wasted. It's an investment.
The Hard Work is an Investment
All of the hard work is an investment in my kid. And Bob is an amazing kid. He's been through so much the last several years and made it through like a champ. My 'thank you' is in all of the wonderful (and annoying) qualities of who Bob is.
Reflection time is helpful
Step back, take time out to reflect. If anything else, you can see the beauty in the chaos. The sweet within the sour. And maybe, you'll find your child's 'thank you' there. And for that, I'm thankful.
Parents, what have you discovered during reflection time?
Zalamar, H. (2013, June 20). Reflection Time, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/parentingchildwithmentalillness/2013/06/reflection-time