Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Love is an active noun

Imagine that you've just met someone for the first time. You are trying to have a conversation with her but the little one by her side is not allowing that conversation to happen. The little guy is erratically running around the two of you but that's not the worst of it. He keeps screaming, "Aaaaaa," in these little outbursts. They don't last long but they are frequent. And loud. His mom keeps stopping to remind him that if he wants a turn to speak, he should just ask. At this he will say, "I want a turn to talk." She grants him a turn and he comes up with something that makes no sense. You resume your conversation only to have the whole situation repeat itself. He gets more and more agitated and starts hitting his mom, still screaming every few seconds. You finally give up and walk away.

As you walk away, what are you thinking about this mom and her parenting skills? You've just met her but you can tell a lot in a short amount of time, can't you? She clearly doesn't have control of the situation but instead the child has control over her. You're thinking that she needs a few parenting classes to learn about child rearing, boundaries, and who is really the parent.

Or maybe that short meeting doesn't tell you much at all. It didn't tell you that the child is not only visually impaired, something you could guess by observing him, but that he also has sensory and behavioral issues related to his condition. It didn't tell you that she's been working with him ever since he learned to speak; reminding him to use words instead of screams. You have no way of knowing that she has tried everything she knows to help him understand that his screaming is inappropriate in social situations. And what you really can't see is that she is not only weary of this, but terribly embarrassed and frustrated, probably wishing she had just stayed home. And it certainly didn't tell you that she has 7 other children at home who have, or are, turning out just fine.

Yes, there are those parents who could use some help in child-rearing; who have allowed the children to control the home. But if there's one thing I've learned in the almost three years with Victor, it's that there are a lot of weary and frustrated moms who just need a great big dose of grace, a massage, or a vacation to the beach.

Or maybe all three.

“Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

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