“It’s not fair.”
It’s a comment we hear often from Beckett when things don’t go his way.
We hear this phrase about small things, such as our decision to not let him attend a birthday party an hour from home the night before an early soccer tournament or about not being able to get out of school early a few days a week for speech therapy like his little brother.
Another example would be a few nights ago at 9 p.m. when he wanted to stay up later because a friend was able to stay up until 10. We didn’t budge, and I heard the familiar shrieks of “it’s not fair” as I left his room.
Other times it’s not as simple. It’s a little more complex and requires some maturation on his end to deal with his emotions. For instance, he’s right that it’s unfair two of his grandparents have died in the last six months.
Last weekend there were many conversations about fairness as a result of competitive sports, which can teach kids a lot about life. The question I struggle with is not how to protect my kid from unfairness. It’s how do I help him cope with unfairness because it’s simply a fact of life.
After a recent soccer tournament, Beckett, 10, was down and out and his confidence was shaken. He was complaining a lot. Leaving out the specifics, he was remarking how this and that were not fair and seeking explanations. He was right on some fronts and not so much on others.
Pam and I both had to tell him multiple times that life is not always fair and it’s how he handles these specific things moving forward that will define him as a person. Over the years, he has learned a decent way of coping with his aggravation.
In his mind, Beckett must get his thoughts off his chest verbally before he can move on. I have learned to just listen to him, no matter how ridiculous what he is saying may be. Once the game is over and he has said what he needs to say, it’s out of his system. He moves on quickly thereafter.
I know a lot of adults who are just like that. The difference is adults may not always articulate our feelings on a certain something. We have learned to think before we speak. We stew on our concerns until we wrap our head around them, question them and then just proceed if it’s something beyond our control.
There was a time last weekend when Beckett was as frustrated as I have ever seen him after a game. He had every right to be aggravated. We told him as much as we listened to him.
When he returned to play another game, the same situation played out. I was impressed when he came off the field and simply wanted to go home. He didn’t want to talk about it, was clearly done with soccer for the day and we didn’t bring it up. He just wanted to do something else. When we got home, he went outside and did flips on the trampoline by himself. I like to think it was his way of working through it in his head.
After a bit, I went to check on him. Since my flipping days have long passed, we instead wrestled, and I caught him in the eye with my elbow, resulting in him bending over and saying it was unfair.
Remorseful over being too rough, I learned he was faking it and then he dropped me with some sort of move he termed the “eliminator.” That’s when I then started with the “unfair” comments.
Our journey with Carson is unlike anything I have ever experienced.
Raising a special needs child is the most challenging journey of my life. There are days when I think God chose me to be Carson’s father because I’m exactly what he needs in a paternal figure. There are other days when I feel helpless and frustrated and question everything.
With Carson, every day is different. He has good days and bad days. That’s like a lot of people, but what’s different is his rough days can be terrible with disturbing incidents occurring. We celebrate the positive days and learn from the negative, reminding ourselves tomorrow is a new day.
Every morning I pray after dropping Carson off to school as I walk back to my car. It’s just a daily communication thanking God for continuingly watching over him and his teachers and giving Carson the wherewithal to make the right decisions throughout his day. It brings me peace and eases my worrying nature.
I have learned when life gets complicated and there are seemingly uncontrollable situations facing us – as there were the first few weeks of school with horrible negative behaviors — looking to God in some fashion is the only option.
The good news is over the last week Carson has settled in at school, functioning better, doing what’s expected and making better decisions. I still pray leaving him at school every day because it’s calming. It’s also now a bit about superstitions because we stick with what works with Carson.