Special Needs Dad 365

Think Differently
From day one, we are taught to follow directions and follow the steps as they are laid out on the page. We go to elementary, middle, and high school, and hopefully college. Then it’s graduate and find a job. Next, it’s get married, buy a house, have kids, get ahead in a career, and plan for retirement. Sometimes, I wonder if parents are given the traditional “10 Step Plan for How to Guide Your Kids to a Successful Life” along with their babies when they go home from the hospital and are told they must adhere to the guidelines...or else.

The thing is, this cookie cutter life is not for everyone. Life usually has different plans for us and people have to be open to them and the opportunities they present. Based on our experience, we have taught Hailey that it is important to love what she does when she gets older. That way, it won’t seem like work. We have also encouraged her to be creative and to think differently. It’s apparent from her love of both math and art that she is left and right brained. One minute she will be watching a video about equations and the next she will be drawing a Marvel character or playing the guitar.

For Christmas, she received a model of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek. She has become quite the Trekkie over the last few months. It came with the standard paint instructions to match the color of the typical Enterprise, but she decided to go a different route. She thought, "Why not make it look a lot more cool!" She threw commonplace aside and bought some blue galaxy paint.

While this instance is something small, I hope she continues to think along these lines as she matures. She has had to watch Allison and me navigate many challenges with Livy that would not have been accomplished with doing things by the book. She will face her own challenges as she grows as well as select a career.

It’s safe to say that many of the issues our society faces today will still be there tomorrow. If we are going to go where no man or woman has gone before, as they say in Star Trek, then we will need people who can use their imaginations and envision a path to get us there. The only way we will solve big problems is by people working together and thinking about new and different solutions.