I found a new blog the other day called No Points for Style. The blogger, Adrienne, is the mother of a mentally ill child, Carter. She has too often been on the receiving end of well meaning but overbearing and unsolicited advice. We all know how that feels, right?
So, what’s the difference between wisdom and advice?
To me, wisdom is inspiration and meant to be shared with the world. Anyone can benefit from words of wisdom. However, I will only offer advice regarding a specific situation when it is asked of me. Sometimes wisdom can be shared in lieu of advice, particularly when we do not have personal experience with a situation. What do you think is the difference between wisdom and advice?
That being said, Adrienne’s life is like a roller coaster and along the way, she has garnered incredible strength and wisdom. She shared some of these lessons with her blog readers in a recent post, Navigating the Storm. Please go visit Adrienne at No Points for Style and read the entire post. Each lesson is worth reading as they can be applied to many of life’s challenges, not just parenting a mentally ill child. Here is my favorite one:
Oh, this is a hard one. It’s gotten harder because of the very vocal movement that says neurological differences are just that: differences. They aren’t problems; they are identity.
While I applaud and support a movement toward broader acceptance, feelings are feelings. Whatever your opinion on the matter, few people expect to have a child with emotional and behavioral differences and you may need to grieve the child you thought you would have.
I had to grieve many things. I had to grieve the lovely, cozy experience of mothering a baby that I had enjoyed with my older kids. I had to grieve time to myself and time alone with my husband. I’ve had to grieve after every diagnosis, from motor delays to sensory issues to cognitive challenges. I’ve grieved the relationships I once shared with my older kids. I’ve grieved my expectation that one day, Brian and I would enjoy some empty nest years. I’ve grieved the dream of financial security, the social life I used to enjoy, and holding a regular job.
Most of all, I’ve grieved for the lost hope that my little boy would have a joyful childhood.
There have been other feelings. Darker feelings. We do ourselves no favors when we deny them. I begged Brian to let me put Carter in foster care; I have believed that Carter hated me and I have sometimes hated him. I have wished many times that, on the night when we conceived Carter, I had turned over and gone to sleep instead of having sex that second time.
But those are feelings, thoughts, and wishes. Thinking about throwing the baby through the window (a nearly universal fantasy among mothers of very high-needs babies, by the way) is not the same as actually throwing the baby through the window. Feelings are part of being human. Assuming there’s no underlying pathology, we can control the actions we take as a response to our feelings, but there’s no advantage to trying to control the feelings themselves. When I acknowledge to myself that I am very angry, I’m far less likely to go around smashing coffee cups and making a mess of things.
Because you know what? People are going to tell you that you’re strong. They’ll say you’re special, extraordinary, a hero. They’ll even call you an angel.
It’s OK that you’re not. Raising a child with emotional and behavioral challenges is wickedly difficult. You don’t have to do it with grace, finesse, or style. (There are no points for any of that, in case you hadn’t heard.) You just have to show up and do it.
It’s OK to let people see your white flag.”
~ Adrienne Jones at No Points for Style
If you’d like me to feature a post from your blog in which you share some words of wisdom, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please leave a link in the comments section if you wrote a Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom post!