It was back in 1992 when I had a parent tell me for the first time…”I don’t want you to think I am crazy or anything…but I think my son can read my mind”.
Now at the time I thought that was very interesting, and I have always been very opened minded, so I certainly was not going to discredit what she was saying…in fact… I actually saw evidence of what she was telling me.
Her son was a young man about 19 years old who was diagnosed with autism and also happened to be completely non verbal.
I was working with him using a listening program at the time, so all he was required to do was wear headphones and listen to the program. After a few sessions his mom told me that she could tell that her son really liked me. He was always happy and eagerly participated in the sessions.
Then one day, while he was peacefully listening to his music session, I happened to be sitting across from him and I started thinking about the my plans later that evening. I had a date with someone new for dinner. I was thinking about how I really thought I might like this guy…when all of sudden out of now where, this 19 year old boy that I was sitting with, jumped up, threw off his headphones, and shoved me and my chair I was sitting on, into the wall behind me.
It actually put large dents in the wall. Two from the chair and one from my head. I was in shock. Where did this action come from. He quickly calmed down and went back to listening, and I thought to myself, was he reading my mind?
Now I know this must sound crazy, but it was something I just could not forget. When I spoke to his mom about what had happened, the first thing she asked me was “what were you thinking about”.
His mom truly believed that her son, this 19 year old young man, had a crush on me, and was actually jealous of my upcoming date that evening. Nothing was ever said, and yet, there was something that really set him off.
So the seed was planted, was it possible that this non verbal, young man, was able to feel the thoughts of the people around him?
Over time, I continued to hear more and more stories from parents about how their children really seemed to be feeling and knowing what they were thinking about.
Most commonly I heard parents tell me that their child seemed to always be able to pick up on their emotions, even when they were trying to hide their feelings because they knew how sensitive their child was.
I had parents tell me such things as their barely verbal child touching their cheek saying “no sad mommy, no sad” even when they were trying to cover up their sadness by trying to look happy.
And of course there were stories about their child in school showing tremendous signs of empathy for the other children.
I can also recall the number of young teenagers that were struggling with anxiety issues, many of which reported being overwhelmed by different social situations.
So what point am I trying to make here?
What I truly believe…is that children today are evolving…and I believe that this world we are living in, desperately needs these children right now.
Our children are being born more sensitive, more caring and more nurturing than ever before. They are able to feel what others are feeling, and though this is a beautiful quality, it can also be very overwhelming, and very confusing for them and for their parents.
You see what happens is this…these children are trying to learn how to navigate this world through their sensory processing system…and that includes not only their physical senses, but also their inner senses.
I believe that children that are highly intuitive, often have trouble organizing and developing their physical senses, which accounts for the increase in the number of children that are being diagnosed with developmental delays.
I also believe that since they are able to pick up so easily on the emotions and feelings of others, that they often have trouble trying to discern between their own emotions and those of the people around them.
I am sure you can imagine how overwhelming this might be, and especially for a young child.
Now there may be some of you reading this that may think these ideas are somewhat far fetched. However, I also know that many of you parents out there know exactly what I am talking about and hopefully this is making sense.
You see…our children today need us to understand this so that we can help them manage and navigate this world, especially now during these most challenging times.
By understanding and helping them see how beautiful their gifts are, we can help them nurture and grow. Unfortunately, this is not what is happening most of the time.
You see, society has set up certain structures that dictate what is normal and what is abnormal. We also have set up belief systems that tell us that in order to be happy and successful in life, our children need to act and react in certain ways.
As parents we get concerned that our child is going to struggle in life if they don’t get a proper education and learn to act and behave “properly”.
We worry about them being teased and bullied, and this is a real concern. And so we set out to find ways to “fix” them and change them so that they fit in.
This can often feel like putting a square peg into a round hole. It just does not fit.
Trying to help our children by putting them in the same box that has worked in the past, is just not working today, and it is very confusing for many of today’s children.
Instead, what I am suggesting, is that we learn to embrace the new normal, and start seeing our children with our hearts and not so much with our minds.
When today’s children grow up feeling different, they often just want to hide. They are not comfortable being seen or heard, because they don’t want people to see all their inadequacies.
That is what happens when we are constantly trying to “fix” them, because, no matter how hard you try, when you are working at fixing them, they are feeling broken.
So the idea here is, what if they are not broken at all, and what if they are actually an upgrade?
I believe the world today could really use a new generation of people that are more caring, more loving and more compassionate.