Do you remember how you felt when your kids were born? The best day imaginable. You watch as you nurture this human being into someone capable of leaving, which you know will break your heart, but it’s your job. You would not trade them for anything. It may have taken some Christian discipline in the early years but the next is coming…
“The people to whom I am sending your are obstinate and stubborn…” – Ezekiel 2:4
Then they become a teenager. Our first two were girls, and both were neurotypical; in other words, reasonable amounts of perplexing behavior. Our third is anything but typical. For the majority of his life, we have traded blows with autism. Sometimes it wins; sometimes, it’s a draw. In the end, we win because we get Korbin.
Other than the autistic behavior, which can be a dominant opponent, Korbin usually is about as compliant as he could be in terms of behavior. Can’t get him to do something? Write it down. If he reads it, he does it. He did learn that if he shut his eyes, he did not have to read instructions. Fortunately, that did not last long.
However, in the last couple of months, our most peaceful family member has become somewhat of a pain in the …you know. He is obstinate, stubborn, and loud. He has always had a very sly sense of humor that most people do not get to see. Summer is in full swing, and he can be tough to keep occupied. None of this is unusual. If you have a teenager, you know what I mean. But dang, he can be tough to be around right now.
By the way, trying to find a way to punish a kid that hides their heart can be fierce. Aly loved it when we sent her to her room. Alone time. Take a phone or a computer, and that got to her. Jordyn, on the other hand, could not have cared less about the items. When we took her freedom from friends away, that did it. For both girls, I took their room away once. Made them pack a bag and sleep on the couch until they earned it back, no timetable. It worked.
I have tried to explain to my wife the love I have for football. Huddle. Run a play. Fight for your team. After first down, second down is coming. We’re going to put our hands on the ground and do it again; maybe 60 or 70 plays a game. A new opportunity comes with every play. That is where we find ourselves.
Finding Korbin’s heart can be a challenge. But we had a huddle and then called a play. Let’s screw up his equilibrium. He usually knows where every item in his room is. It may look like chaos, but he has it memorized. We removed some things and introduced new ones in his room. He gently asked us to leave his bedroom multiple times, but we kept at it. He hovered while we did it, but the change will hopefully help.
One of my favorite things in life is being a parent. I realized this week that all that has happened is this: my son challenged us. He may not be fun to be around sometimes, but neither am I. Not only did I sign up for this, but I would also do it again. I love being a father. In a way, Korbin is the most comfortable person to be around I have ever known. But when he is off, he can be one of the toughest. He’s like me. One thing we should be sure of in how we are parenting is that we practice Christian discipline. We want to be faithful parents.
If God looks at me the way I have been looking at Korbin the last couple of weeks, I owe God an apology. I know He knows the lessons, the plans, and the outcomes, but I am not a pre-programmed robot. He knows how I will behave before I take action. The week has strengthened our resolve as parents.