Facial expressions and some mannerisms of mine were recently brought up to me as something that someone found irritating. The interesting thing is that this person also has some facial expressions and mannerisms that I find irritating. It was nice to have a good talk to work out some of the differences, but the truth is that many things we do are our own quirks and differences that others recognize in us that we don’t (they are our blind spots) and are sometimes things that others need to love us through and sometimes simply overlook lovingly.
Quirks might not be just our facial expressions or mannerisms but ways we do things, ways we think, or even how we deal with others. So, when we are working with others, others are working with us or our children/young adults with special needs, we need to step back and ask ourselves if this is something to mention or bring up, or lovingly overlook. If it’s simply a quirk (not a sin issue), my suggestion is to learn (and that is a process, sometimes) to overlook that in another. Then, may others also lovingly overlook some of our quirks (because we have them!), too.
Do you take time to recognize the lovely opportunities that give us perks to care for our loved one who has special needs? Sometimes we laugh lovingly and say, “Joey, thank you for this perk!” when we get that closer parking spot or opportunity that helps us along the way! We do admit, and are thankful, for the times these helps make life a little easier and smoother. Some perks are wonderful helps like:
- Handicapped placards for those who qualify
- Parking spaces that allow us less walking; especially in inclement weather
- Special lines that allow us to keep moving when we have one that sitting for a long time is difficult
- Cars, bikes, wheelchairs, and other mobility vehicles
Isn’t it true that even when we’re enjoying the perks that make life easier and better in our special needs circumstances, we can still be jerks…and be demanding and (God forbid) entitled, and just plain nasty!? Yet, on the other hand, there are others that fit the bill, too, and it is difficult to deal with the jerks that sometime show up that have us question what some people are thinking, like when others:
- Walk quickly in front of us only to go slower or stop in front of us when we finally have momentum in pushing a wheelchair that might be hundreds of pounds
- Don’t pay attention when we are trying to make our way with mobile children or adults with special needs who are not only at times very slow but also very distracted
- Use a handicapped parking space when they do not have a handicapped placard and just wait there for their ambulatory person to come out….fully mobile and not following legal guidelines
- Give us dirty looks for taking too long (this is tough because we are always waiting on our loved one and going slow when we’d like to go at a normal pace) when we have but one speed choice: slow.
- Talk loud enough for us to hear about the irritation we are.
- Are frustrated or accusatory when our child is having a meltdown (like we them to act this way…..)
- I could go on, but I’ll let you add your own!
WHAT THEN SHALL WE DO…..
- ALWAYS show grace
- PRAY when you are frustrated or know you are causing frustration for others
- Have PATIENCE-it’s a good practice and an even better example
- THINK before you SPEAK
- SPEAK kindly
- Be GENTLE with others
- Take correction of you are sinning and called on it, but if it’s an opinion of someone’s then let it go and move on-we can’t please everyone
AND let’s be very intentional in realizing we all have quirks, so let’s be gracious in dealing with the quirks of others just as we hope they’ll be with ours; let’s be appreciative and show gratitude for the perks we’re extended and be careful to not have an attitude of expectation thus we’ll have an attitude of humility and not entitlement which is arrogant and haughty; and let’s not be the jerks we can so easily identify in others but not ourselves; may we be Christlike and honor Him in ALLWAYS!
Dr. Joe and Cindi Ferrini share their newest book: Love All-Ways: Embracing Marriage Together on the Special Needs Journey (order at www.cindiferrini.com). They are authors, speakers, and bloggers for several blogging sites on marriage, family and special needs. They speak nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Marriage Get-a-Ways, authored *Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course, and have been interviewed on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Janet Parshall at “In the Market”, Chris Brooks of “Equipped” and various other radio and television venues. Connect with them at:
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