I read the most phenomenal article online by Jessica Lahey titled "Give Late Blooming Children the Time They Need". In the article Lahey used one of her favourite books "Leo the Late Bloomer" (Kraus, 1994) from her childhood to help illustrate her changing perspective on difference. As a child Lahey identified with Leo, his struggles with being different from his peers. However, as an adult, Lahey now identifies with Leo's parents. She describes how Leo's parents keep consumed with worry over Leo's delays watch closely for signs of blooming.
Echoes of Leo's parents concern can be heard in many families. Understanding the feelings of anxiety and watching our children struggle is often very isolating. The isolation extends further because to understand our childrens' difference we must understand our own. Lived experiences, positive or negative, feed into our insecurities and add to our worry. At the centre of it all is worry, and the worry is manufactured out of our love because we want the best for our children.
The solution is often labeled as measurable outcomes on an individual scale, what does that look like? How is this understood by 'we' the parents, for better or worse the on-lookers? Much like Leo's parents, we must learn to accept that how our children bloom and flourish are on their unique timelines through their individualized scales. We support our children and we teach them using methods and techniques which better meet their needs. Sometimes these lessons are more successful then others, but we must remember the measurable outcomes on an individual scale. Our children naturally teach us resiliency, it's only when we try to understand and perceive their accomplishments in relation to others do we set them up for failure.
The ideas from Lahey's article resonated with me, and I have since purchase Robert Kraus "Leo the Late Bloomer" from Indigo online. This is a story I want my daughter to understand so she can better identify and understand the world around her. Resiliency is a powerful tool, and examples of resiliency in people, books and TV are always welcome.