Encouragement for Parents of Kids with Special Needs: Kindness

Encouragement for Parents of Kids with Special Needs - Day 5: Kindness - jenniferajanes.com

Encouragement for Parents of Kids with Special Needs – Day 5: Kindness

As much as I hate to admit it, being the parent of a child with special needs has made me a nicer person. Before I had my younger daughter and began dealing with her issues, I often took other people’s attitudes and actions personally and was very judgmental and critical in my thoughts towards them.

Then my little one was born. As I began to deal with the multitude of daily tasks that come with raising a child with special needs, I also started dealing with the accompanying exhaustion, stress, frustration, anger, grief, and feeling of being constantly overwhelmed.

And I began to look at others with new eyes. I started to realize that whether they have a child with special needs or not, everyone is going through something. All of us have struggles, fears, and stress that we’re dealing with. Every. Single. Day.

As my own daily challenges opened my eyes to the pain of those around me, I began making an extra effort to make a difference in the lives of the people who come into my life each day. I don’t have to know their issues to show kindness to the people I come into contact with.

How does this look in practice, when I’ve got so much to deal with myself?

  • I try to be respectful and courteous to customer service representatives I interact with. More likely than not, the problem I’m frustrated about is not that individual’s fault. (You’re also more likely to get a positive outcome if you’re nice. 😉 )
  • I offer sincere thanks to people who help me in various ways during the day: the receptionist at the doctor’s office or therapy facility, the cashier at the grocery store, the person who fixes my plumbing or repairs my van, and others. It amazes me how many times those people look up, surprised, when I offer sincere thanks for the service they have provided. (Even when it comes with a big bill.)
  • I do random acts of kindness. Sometimes it looks like paying for someone else’s purchases when in line at a fast food place or grocery store. Other times it means dropping a card in the mail or sending a text to someone I’m not in regular contact with to let them know I’m thinking of them and they’re special to me. It can mean tracking down a mother who has left the diaper bag in her grocery cart or whose child has left a shoe in the middle of the aisle. My kids didn’t understand why I did this at first, but now we almost make a game of looking for people we can serve in small ways, to brighten their days. (Volunteering in the community is another good way to serve others and express kindness.)
  • Most importantly, I try to get my focus off myself and my circumstances. I spend time in prayer and Bible study, refocusing on God and His ability to make my impossible possible. Then I turn my focus to others, doing the things above to help them while I wait for God to work in my circumstances.

Father, please help me to grow in kindness as I focus on you and others instead of myself, my child, and our needs. It can be hard to look past what’s going on with us to practice kindness and serve others, but I know it pleases you and helps us too. Thank you for the opportunities to grow more Christ-like. Amen.

How do you practice kindness during the busyness of life with your special needs child?

Thank you for joining me for this 10-day series of Encouragement for Parents of Kids with Special Needs. Join me Monday as we explore Kindness.

Other posts in this series:

If you’re looking for more great content by some amazing bloggers, please check out iHomeschool Network’s August 2013 Hopscotch! iHomeschool Network's Autumn 2013 Hopscotch

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