Nine years ago today, a couple of weeks after my son Mikey had finished Kindergarten, I sat down and wrote a document titled "My Vision for Mikey". I wanted to have some record of the dreams that I had for him as he ended in to the world of graded education.
I went back to look at it last night and I can't say that my dreams for him have changed all that much. I still very much want him to have a life that is his own. The steps that we need to continue to keep trying to take to achieve that can be both frustrating and wonderful. In the nine years since I've written this, I've come to realize that the road is not always easy but it is meaningful and worth it.
Here is the statement I wrote back then. Original post can be found on my personal blog which I no longer write on. Link: http://redlights.typepad.com/red_lights/2005/07/my_vision_for_m.html.
I believe that each person on this earth has their own special gifts
and talents and when these gifts are discovered and nurtured, they
become the passions that make up the meaning of life. I see my role as
Mikey's mommy as being that of providing him with the opportunities and
support to ensure that he is able to discover his own unique gifts and
talents and then to ensure that he has the tools, supports and proper
environment to nurture these. Ultimately, the goal would be for Mikey to
take charge of his own life and understand and be proud of what he
contributes to our world.
I believe in Mikey's uniqueness and do not want him subjected to
pressure to conform to standards that may not be right for him. The
struggles he faces in day to day living activities need to be balanced
with many success activities throughout the day. I want him to feel
success more often then he experiences failure. I want him to
understand that success is not only in the final product but in the
effort put in to get to the final product. I want him to believe that
he can do whatever he sets his mind to but at the same time, I want him
to be the one in control of what those goals will be. I believe people
who come in contact with Mikey should set realistic, yet challenging
expectations of him so that he can learn to do the same for himself and
strive towards being the best Mikey he can be. I want him to have a
full understanding of the difference between doing his best and being
the best and to be proud of the times when he does his best without
comparison to others.
I want him to lead a life full of love, joy, discovery, real
relationships, balance, and a positive sense of self. Throughout life, I
want him to strive towards independence. I want him to take
responsibility for himself - to make his own decisions and to take
responsibility for the way those decisions play out. At the same time, I
want him to understand that true happiness for anyone is found in
interdependence and not in independence and I want him to have a full
understanding of who is in his support system. I want him to turn to
these people (or seek out new people if the situation demands it) when
the need arises with the understanding that he is showing strength and