Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Family As An Oasis

Oasis: something serving as a refuge, relief, or pleasant change from what is usual, annoying, difficult, etc.

Years ago, I attended a seminar on making your classroom an oasis for students. We were urged to shelter our students, keep them safe from "the world", help them feel comfortable enough that they felt they were able to make mistakes without judgement from those who might not understand what the process they were going through was.

I've always felt that was the way a family should operate; we ought to make our children feel comfortable in their own homes. They should be free to be themselves, whether that means, oh I don't know, wanting to learn about jets for six weeks straight then jumping onto learning about the human body for a month or so (ya know, just an example haha) or dressing in orange shirts, striped shirts, and mismatched socks. They should feel free to express their emotions-positive or negative. They should be free from judgement. They should feel safe. They should be happy. They should know that no matter what happens, they will always have a group of people around them who will love and accept them despite the shortcomings society may  think they have. They should know that no matter what labels are put on them by society, we don't care, they are who they are.

I think this is ESPECIALLY important when you have a child with special needs and I think it's especially important for the PARENTS of that child to have a family oasis. A shoulder to cry on, a person to say "damn that sucks" and "how can I help?" People who are there for you and accept you and your kiddo despite the fact that they frustrate the crap out of everyone; people who understand that kids are kids and EVERY kid comes with a set of challenges that are unique to them.

Sometimes though, it's just not feasible for the parents to have that oasis; sometimes it's up to them to create their own oasis within their own home, their own circle of friends, and maybe even on line. I'm so thankful that our oasis, while not perfect, has a great mix of family, friends, both near and far, and friends whom I've never met "in person" but feel connected to. It's nice to have someone to turn to when life becomes too much to deal with; when the stress levels are so high you could scream; when you absolutely do not how in the hell you are going to continue on when everything seems so defeating. 

And on a sillier note, there's someone in OUR Oasis who happens to LOVE the band Oasis, so for him I present you with...nothing because apparently you cannot link youtube videos into blogger anymore...sorry Uncle Dole :P

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