"To be a good friend" was my burly, but gentle grandson's immediate response to my question. I asked him "what is the most important thing you have learned from your parents".
I didn't know what to expect. I was having a lot of fun and I had no idea what he might say. In retrospect, I certainly didn't expect him to say "to be a good friend".
He went on to say he has learned to "always say Hi to people" and "to play games by their rules".
As Paul Harvey says, "And now for the rest of the story".
During his first year of life this grandson had excruciating, painful earaches. As he grew older, it became apparent that he had a significant hearing loss. He needed speech therapy. Although he has benefited from speech therapy, at times, his speech still is difficult to understand.
As a child psychologist I knew that children with significant hearing losses, oftentimes, isolate and withdraw from relationships. They become loners without friends. Jack, could have been one of those children lost in a world without hearing.
Instead, Jack is a very animated grandson with unbelievable facial and nonverbal gestures. He has never chosen to give up. No matter how frustrated he has become in making himself understandable to others, he never quits talking with his words, face and body. I marveled at his strength of character and determination.
Think about this! Rather than seeing himself as a victim, Jack proudly perceives himself "as a good friend".
My last two blogs have been on fear-based parenting. Certainly his parents had a basis to be fearful, because of his hearing disability. Fortunately, they didn't parent Jack with fear. They raised Jack like their other children. They read to him every night. They kept him as busy as he could be in team sports and other school activities. Jack was not raised differently, because of his hearing loss.
It is always such a joy to see Jack, who has chosen not to live in a world of isolation and instead has chosen "to be a good friend" to all. "To be a good friend" is a wonderful gift given to Jack by his parents.
Remember, Children Live within the Environment Created by their Parents!
Life and Mental Fitness Coach