Saturday, March 2, 2013

The challenging week

This past week has been a perplexing week as I’ve watched Sam’s behavior morph for reasons unknown to us.

At almost precisely 2 PM each day Sam has gotten very upset at school resulting in a period of anger and aggression. Each day we have 23 ½ hours of Dr. Jekyll and 30 minutes with Mr. Hyde. Whenever this happens we look for clues. Any clues that might explain.

Could it be the new medication he is on for his recently diagnosed epilepsy? Does he have a stomachache or heartburn? Has the thought of getting on the bus for an hour thrown him into turmoil? If so, why now after months and months on the same bus?

Each night I ask him about his day. He looks up with a sweet remorseful smile and says, “Sam pushed Aaron. Aaron is nice. Sorry Aaron.”

The following morning I send him off to school ready and prepped for a good day, hopeful whatever troubles him has passed. I am saddened when I get the call that Mr. Hyde has emerged once more.

Anytime Sam slides backwards behaviorally we are concerned. Teasing out the problem and rectifying becomes the focus of our existence. It is easy to become consumed by those 30 minutes of challenging behavior.

Today I read an Italian proverb:

"Count your nights by stars, not shadows; count your
life with smiles, not tears."

This reminds me of something important. We must address this current problem, yes. But it isn’t whole story. There is more good than bad; right now there are 23 ½ hours of good behavior for each 30 minutes of difficulty. I know Sam’s desire to succeed is strong. I know Sam can string together months and months of good behavior. I am remembering to count the stars and smiles.

We have been through difficult weeks before and made it though and back. As I look at Sam’s eager smile, I know it will happen again. 

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