October 30, 2011- After a week's drought from writing I've decided to write about two really cool things that made my week last week. They both had to do with two pretty cool kids with ASD and the life cycle of pumpkins. HUH?!?! Yup, you read right: PUMPKINS!
My little man has been studying the life cycle of the pumpkin at school. Now considering how much time he's been spending in "safe space" (i.e. time out) and/or having "interventions" for his behavior lately it was an incredibly pleasant SHOCK to hear that he was learning anything at all! But God is good and my baby IS learning! The little man brought home a large strip of red paper titled "Pumpkin Life Cycle." I asked him what it was and he said, "see, fly, punkin'" A bit confused I asked him again and he pointed at each of the shapes: see...fly...punkin'. HE WAS SAYING "SEED, FLOWER, PUMPKIN!!!!!" WOW!!! How cool is THAT?!?!? That paper is now on our refrigerator door and every day he reminds us of each of the stages, though now he's been able to work at it and say "seed, flowa, punkin" I'm SO proud! ;') That was cool moment #1.
Cool moment #2 happened at school while I worked in a first grade classroom with a little girl with ASD who has been having a REALLY hard time at school (sound familiar?). I felt honored to be able to witness this little girl who's had such a rough start to the year beam with pride as she colored, cut and pasted images of...guess what? The life cycle of the pumpkin! Her teacher, aide and I just cheered as she allowed us to offer suggestions and even help her fix each of the paper squares to fit onto a strip of paper. Her teacher made it "just right" so she could wear it as a headband/hat for the rest of the day! This was the FIRST time since September that I have seen the child be flexible, make steady eye contact, let someone help her and even dance for joy when her work was finished!
These two things got me thinking about kids like this little girl and my little man. Both of these kids have ASD and although they are incredibly bright their school experiences are so "colored" by their behavioral difficulties (did you know that was the case for Albert Einstein, too?). The joy of seeing these two kids beam with pride in their work is why I do what I do, why I've been at it for over 15 years and why I love it so much! These two kids are like the pumpkin seeds: they were planted, watered and cared for but something went awry along the way. When educators in their lives became blinded and overwhelmed by their behaviors, it's as if they'd thrown a tarp over the small pumpkin plant sprouting from the eart, stunting its growth. Without light or air, these little plants will wither and never give fruit! In contrast, when cared for, nourished and allowed to breathe and grow with the correct guidance, these little plants could end up producing record-breaking sized pumpkins (remember Albert Einstein?).
This reminds me of the many, many places in the Bible where plants and seeds are described and/or used as analogies (see list at the end of my post). Our spiritual lives are like these seeds: it is not enough to plant the seed and expect it to magically grow. We need to nourish that sproutlet! The stressors of life so often cover the light and air that we need to grow in Christ. Like the joy I felt in seeing these two amazing kids beam with pride at their accomplishments, I can only imagine God's joy when He sees us grow and give fruit against all odds! My prayer is that I can be a witness to many more of my little man's accomplishments and moments of pride. I pray that his school life no longer serves as that tarp that covers his air and light, stunting his joy and his growth. I pray that the stressors in MY life don't drown out the blessings and spiritual nourishment that God wants to pour out over my life and my family. I pray the same for you: that your seed grows into a beautiful flower and gives plenty of healthy fruit...
SEE, FLY, PUNKIN!Be blessed!
Then he took some of the seed of the land and planted it in a fertile field; He placed it by abundant waters and set it like a willow tree. And it grew and became a spreading vine of low stature; Its branches turned toward him, but its roots were under it. So it became a vine, brought forth branches, and put forth shoots. Ezekiel 17:5-6
The seed shrivels under the clods, storehouses are in shambles; barns are broken down, for the grain has withered. Joel 1:17
For the seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give its fruit, the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew— I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these. Zechariah 8:12
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:3
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:8
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2