It's another rough day, so here's something I wrote back in the beginning of spring. Hope you enjoy:
I had a conversation a few days ago that inspired some morning thoughts. They dawned over the ground of frustration and unrest that was laid by the argument made by my companion at the time. He decided that money was the route to success. The elemental difference between succeeding and not was money because it could buy the best services and command attention from others. I reacted, as I often do, emotionally, failing to argue as intelligently as I am capable because of insecurities and personal struggles with finance through out the years, and responded simply that he was putting too much importance on money, it was nothing more than a pit-fall. With heightened arrogance he responded that the viewpoint I expressed was only that which people without money would agree with. I felt defeated and aggravated. Inside I had an argument but I wasn’t able to articulate it and my defeat therefore was inarguably me defeating myself. Luckily the brisk spring air hitting my face on my morning bike ride opened up my head and heart and I was able to realize the feeling that lay beneath my frustration with this topic.
The gentlemen I was speaking with had provided an example, an example that carried profound emotional weight for me. He said if a person had an autistic child they could provide the very best for that child with their money and in providing the very best they would have peace of mind knowing they did everything they could. This argument affected my parental sensibilities and perhaps was the reason for me becoming so emotional. I am a parent, after all, of a special-needs child. He is not Autistic, his diagnosis was ADHD and Oppositional Behavioral Disorder. His troubles are primarily emotional and he suffers from a deep sadness that I worry could lead to depression. He has always been an extremely articulate and intuitive child, a brilliance that has unfortunately contributed to his troubles because he figures out the emotional aspect of every situation without fully understanding how to rationalize it and so lacks the ability to handle what he has discovered. His heart is often heavy. His gate is asymmetric and he shoulders are often slouched which physically demonstrate the unmanageable weight he is internally baring. It breaks my heart. I love him more then myself. He taught me how to be loved. In doing so he gave me the freedom to be the best of myself. I want nothing more then to give him the same. And I try, I really work my ass off everyday, to do everything I can to make my son realize his life can be better and there is a reason to not settle for the obvious that others, or our own insecurities, would have us settle for. But I am fiscally poor. I do not have the advantage of money. And during this late night conversation I heard in my companion’s argument a deep-rooted confirmation that my worst fears had taught me: my child will not have the best, because I’m not good enough to give it to him. I’m part of my child’s failures.
Well, this could prove to be true, if I let it, but not because of money. In fact the counterargument to his statement lay within the statement itself: “The parent can provide the very best and thus know they’d done their very best. KNOW THEY’VE DONE THEIR VERY BEST”. But this has nothing to do with money. That’s love. Love for one’s child and no matter one’s financial situation, if you love your child you will not settle for less than the very best. A person’s money will make the very best easier to find or access but in the most difficult situations easy really isn’t an option for anybody. A parent that uses their money to buy the best medical attention, therapy and education for their child still has to do the hard work and make the sacrifices to make all this information actually work. Remember the scene from Rocky ( or no, Rocky II ) where the screen toggles back and forth between the work out routine of the Russian challenger and Rocky? The Russian is training in a state of the art gym, with all sorts of trainers and specialized equipment monitoring his heart rate and breath. And then the screen flashes to Rocky, whose breath is measured in the fog it creates when he exhales into the cold, wintery landscape he is running through. He is training in much the same environment as Rocky I, with dangling meat in a chilly butcher’s locker. It’s make-shift and not as glamorous, but who’s the one that ends up the victor at the end of the film? Money can buy nothing more then concessions and though concessions, when kept in their place, can provide encouragement and incentives, they most often provide crutches that do nothing but limit the success of the individual by making things too easy or obvious.
The greatest inventions on earth, like the wheel and the printing press, were not invented by rich people; they were invented by people who had a need to fill and the ingenuity to fill it. Ideas cost no money at all and neither does courage. Ideas and courage are success in action. They are the road that leads you toward your goals. Tenacity is a big part of the journey as well. Placing all the credit on money and what it can provide is an advertent sign of weakness and an accidental admission that you have in fact settled for less. You missed the lesson that was your parent’s most valuable to you: That you were worth a better reality because they loved you, because you were intrinsically valuable, as person, not a commodity. Money after all is nothing more then a tool and any tool is only as good as the person holding it. A child can be steeped in benefits and privilege and do absolutely nothing with any of it. This touches upon an even deeper aspect of this argument: the individual’s will. Even if the parents, rich or poor, are working their asses off for their child’s opportunities, those opportunities will be wasted if they are not given to an individual who, for some reason, has rationalized, in whatever capacity they are able, that there is a better way to live and thus a reason to utilize the tools given to them. Without that motivation NOTHING will work. Not even love. Though love is inarguably the greatest inspiration. Because a parent demonstrates to the child that they are loved, the child learns that they have value.
But some children are not loved and bare a handicap of another kind. They are cast-offs and have no external motivation or example to teach them they are worth anything. Why would an individual such as this attempt to exceed their initial limitations? Some motivation, or deep realization is driving them; one they may not be able to articulate. But here lies proof to my argument; if even a person without the luxury of love can over come their challenges it bares proof that the secret of success is commitment to the decision to be successful and not accept any limitations at all. It is the individual that has to find that motivation. It’s the decision to make the situation work that is the key to success for the child and fulfillment for the parent. In making the decision to believe in our child against all odds-and not believe the limitations that others place around our child's circumstance- an essential element is revealed-> FAITH; faith, driven by the love of one’s child. Whether rich or poor if you possess that element then your child will have the best. You will have the best. Faith, driven by love, held fast by conviction, will always lead to success. Money optional. We are a product of our choices; I choose to have faith in my child. I choose to have faith in myself. And I choose to not give up, even when met with dissonance and ignorance.