Dear TQS Families,
“A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.” ― Dr. Christopher Germer
At this time of year, gratitude abounds. The Thanksgiving holiday gives us all an opportunity to pause and reflect on everything for which we are grateful – a practice that can easily be forgotten in the real-life rush of the rest of the year.
For me, this giving-of-thanks is something I think about often. I consider myself a particularly grateful person who realizes the magnitude of the gifts in my life.
I have a wonderful job leading this community, a supportive Board, dedicated and intellectual colleagues, and a loving family … heck, even a tan from spending the week of Thanksgiving with my family in Florida.
Yet sometimes, despite all the gifts we are given, it can be challenging to feel grateful.
My daughter Pearl has to travel out of state for medical procedures in February, and it is sure to be draining emotionally, physically, and financially. Thinking of this impending difficulty can make it easy to lose sight of how far she has come and all she can do.
As a parent of a child with special needs, I want to offer this advice – to our TQS families, but also to myself – during this wonderful yet complex time of year:
Stay focused on what your children can do, the light they bring into your life, and the success they have experienced.
Think about all your child has accomplished since coming to TQS (or, if you are not yet a TQS parent, the promise of what your child will achieve once here.) The difficulties will come, they always do. However, light, joy, and achievement will come as well. Try to hold a few minutes for thanks and celebration of that fact.
It doesn’t take much time or effort. In his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, Dr. Christopher Germer tells people who think they are too fidgety to meditate to begin by meditating for three seconds. Anyone can sit still for three seconds, right? In the same way, take a few moments and answer these questions:
What can your child do now? What is your most favorite thing about your child? What do they do that makes you laugh? What makes you most proud?
If you do not have time to gratefully journal your answers, simply pick one and answer it in your head.
Our children, despite any challenges, bring light and joy into our lives. Reflect on that joy for a moment. And if you have time, email me your answer. Because your joy brightens my joy as well.
Shine on – with gratitude,