I Saw a Counselor About My Difficult Child. She Asked Me One Question That Changed Everything

Write a List

Josiah graduates from 8th grade today, one of three graduates from our homeschool support program. I’m supposed to give a small speech, and I compiled a list of what makes me thankful when I think of my son. I want him to hear (again) these things that are true about him, and I want him to know that this is who he is:

  • He is funny and good-natured. His craziness is never directed at hurting anybody, and the younger boys in school love hanging around him. He can laugh at himself.
  • He is honest. I can trust that his version of what happened is true.
  • He is strong and helpful. He will uncomplainingly lend a hand if I ask.
  • He is curious and loves learning. He asks great questions. He uses his free time to explore new concepts. He wants to become a professor of political and economic philosophy. He has a wonderful writing voice.
  • He is original. He refuses to blindly copy somebody else, but forges a new path. He thinks far outside the box.
  • He is generous. He spends almost all his money on others.
  • He cares about his friends and the world. He’s willing to sacrifice for them. He wants to follow Jesus and make the world a better place.

Writing out a list like that for your child (and remembering it when you’re desperate) really does change your perspective, especially if he or she is the cause of your graying hair, or contributes to your sleepless nights. At the very least, it fills your heart with love and gratitude. There’s a magic in that, too.

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This article originally appeared at Heather’s blog.

Heather McDaniel
Heather McDaniel grew up in Bangladesh and Kenya, with some states in between. Her husband works for the Indian Health Service, and they’re currently rooting themselves and their three kids in western Washington soil. She loves the ocean, being surprised by beauty, and ice cream. Heather earned a degree in Christian Ed like her mom’s, followed by a degree in public health like her dad’s, but is finally learning that she is called to a path uniquely her own. She writes about the delight and terror of life, parenting, and walking with Jesus at her blog, delightwithterror.blogspot.com.

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