Tag Archives | goals

Video game lesson – If you can see it, there has to be a way

Cameron - Video GameWhile my boys were playing video games today, there was a level where they could see a door but, try as they might, they could not reach it. I sat and watched as they tried and tried again. Sure, they got frustrated but they didn’t stop until eventually, one of them said “There has to be a way!”

And you know what? They got it. It took a little while but they got it.

I couldn’t help but think what a great lesson that is, not just in playing video games but for life in general. And how much I hope that they can carry that lesson forward in all the things they do.

As I sat there, watching them try and try and try, I thought about all the great successful people that most of us wish we could emulate and it occured to me that their philosophy probably wasn’t that far off from what my children were practicing right at that very moment:

If you can see it, there has to be a way to get it.

I thought about my own life. How I want to learn new materials to advance my career. How I want to start losing weight. How I want to learn new things to get my foot in the door in a more official capacity in the world of autism.

I can see these things. They’re attainable goals. They’re very real possibilities in my future.¬†What I have lacked all this time is the belief that there’s a way to attain them.

I think that’s true for many people in many circumstances in their lives. We set goals, especially New Years resolutions, because we can see ourselves reaching those goals, but when we struggle or fail along the way, we stop believing that there’s a way to reach those goals. We can still see them, we just stop trying to find a way.

But a lot like a video game, if you can see it, there has to be a way. That door was put there for a reason. That extra power up, that extra gold reward, that extra life, it was put there in the game, where you can see it, to make you think and to make you try. It’s a way to challenge you.

The same is true in life. The things we want, the things we need, the goals we work for, they’re put there to challenge us, to make us think and to make us work for it. There has to be a way and so long as we never give up, we’ll find it.

Sometimes it takes a little boy with autism, doing what he loves, to help me see things more clearly.

It’s funny how that works.

Comments { 1 }

Making the best of it

For a long time in my life, I was very depressed. I wasn’t going anywhere, doing anything, I had no goals and worst of all, I felt that my life simply had no chance of ever getting better than what it was at the time.

Then I got married.

Strange huh? To go from depressed to married. Well, there was a lot that happened in between but those stories aren’t what’s important right now.

What is important is the vow I made. You know, the vows we all make through marriage… “good times and in bad, in sickness and in health”… I took those vows seriously. More so than that, I paraphrased them and made them my own new life motto: “Make the best of it.”

When my son was diagnosed with autism, I made the best of it. When my wife was pregnant with our second child and had to spend 6 months of it on bed rest, I made the best of it. When my wife was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and could barely get off the couch, I made the best of it.

People told me I would crack, have a nervous breakdown or worse, leave… I didn’t. When people asked how I handle the stress, I told them that I just take one day at a time and I, of course, make the best of it.

Now those days are behind me and my wife is gone. Our children are being split between us 50/50 where I get them for one week and she gets them for one week.

I’ve been with my kids almost every day since their birth and even more so in the last 5 months. With their mother working extra hard, my boys and I were glued together (other than school) every single day.

And after 5 months of that, they’re gone for the week. And this house feels ever so quiet now. No wife. No kids. Not even the dog.

So what do I do?

shrimp

Shrimp = Great snack food!

Well, I’ve been eating some foods that I haven’t had in years, due to the wife’s healthy diet, my son’s gluten free diet and our lack of budget. I’ve been watching movies I have been dying to see. I’ve been playing video games that I haven’t touched in almost a year. I’ve been reading and learning new skills in my field of expertise to better myself.

I posted some pictures on Facebook to which one person replied “you’re not supposed to be enjoying this! lol”

And I got to thinking.

She’s right. I’m not supposed to be enjoying this. What I’m supposed to do is feel alone and quiet and maybe even sad. After all, I do miss my boys tremendously right now. My wife too, but more so my boys since we were together so often for the last 5 months… just the 3 of us.

But why? Why do to that to myself just because I’m “supposed to?”

I thought back to the bed rest, the diagnosis, the struggles with money, the decisions and sacrifices we’ve made and I thought to myself… no, I’m not going to do what I’m supposed to do.

I’m going to make the best of it.

I have the house to myself, I’m going to keep myself busy in the best way I know how and when the week is up, my boys will come back to me. And again, during that short week that I get them… I’m going to make the best of it again.

happy cat

My cat – making the best of an empty house

The way I see it is, when times get hard or life throws mud in your face, you have 2 choices:
1. Do what you’re supposed to do and let it get you down.
2. Make the best of it.

It’s kind of like that whole “when life gives you lemons…” clich√©, except, I’m going to make myself a steak and watch a good movie with my lemonade.

Because life is to short to do what you’re supposed to.

Instead, make the best of it.

One day you’ll look back on your life and be glad that you did.

 

Comments { 2 }

My child’s future with Autism, my goals

I can’t set goals for my son, I can only set goals for myself in hopes of making his future a little better. People say the best way to achieve your goals is to write them down. It makes you accountable for them and reminds you of them later.

Anyway, I’ve been blogging for a little while and even had the opportunity to work with a few charities/groups on some things… so it got me to thinking about what I am going to do.

I don’t mean in the vague… “promise to always be there for him” sort of way but in the “what specifically can I do to improve his life by doing things within/for the Autism community” kind of way.

goalsSo here are my personal goals for the future, as they pertain to the world of Autism.

  1. Develop a web/mobile app that will change the Autism Community
    This is something I’ve already envisioned and outlined. I do not have the resources but do have the plan. This, if/when completed, has the potential to benefit each community as well as the global community in incredible ways.
  2. Write a book
    I have begun work on writing an Autism book, one that takes a very different approach from most other books. It’s something I’m very passionate about in that, completing it, may help to raise people’s understanding, not just awareness. This will help in my son’s future in that, the more people that understand between now and then, the better.
  3. Ensure my son is not ignored
    Now, I don’t know how exactly this is to be accomplished… through many smaller goals, I suspect… but should my son desire to speak up about Autism later in his life, in any way he should choose to do so… it is my mission now to make sure that he is not ignored when he does.
  4. Make this my source of income
    This one may sound a bit selfish, but it’s not. I don’t necessarily wish to make money from helping people or “doing good”, however, having to maintain a day job in order to have an income greatly limits my time, resources and ability to achieve all of the things that I would like to achieve. If it was my source of income, I could devote all of my time to doing it. So no, I don’t wish to become rich by any means.. in fact, I could make the same as I am making now, I don’t care. I just need to find a way to work harder, read more, write more, be more involved and the only way I can do that is if doing it replaced my day job.

It’s not a very big list, my skills and resources… as well as my ideas are limited. Having a family of 4 and a day job will do that. None-the-less, the few goals that I do have there are rather hefty.

And now that I’ve shared them with you… I have to do them!

So I will.

Comments { 4 }

Autism or not, mediocrity should not be a goal

mediocrityAh mediocrity… the desire to be average, just like everyone else. We feel so down on ourselves but not greedy enough to want to be better than anyone else… just to be in that nice safe middle ground where we consider ourselves an average person.

Is there really such a place? If there is, does that “average person” place change when the majority of people have economic struggles and unprecedented levels of unhappiness and even depression? Is that place really what we’re supposed to be shooting for? To be average?

Ever stand around with a group of people talking about “kids these days” and how it doesn’t matter which government party you vote for, “they’re all the same”… did a single one of us ever think it was ok that billionaires got even richer while everyone else foreclosed on their house?

Is that normal? Is that how society is supposed to be? Do I really want for my children to grow up to be “normal” or to strive for mediocrity in the midst of all of that?

Autism

The sad fact is that for many parents of children that have Autism, that’s exactly what we wish for. For our children to have an equal chance, to have a normal social life… to have a chance at happiness with friends and even a family of their own.

Autism sometimes leaves a child unable to speak, use a toilet and so forth… they can be quite aggressive, prone to outbursts and certainly unable to maintain a friendship.

It’s easy to understand how a parent would wish for them to simply have what others have… a chance to be average.

Settling for good enough

There’s an inherent disadvantage in shooting for “just good enough” in that, if it’s your target… you could miss by a little bit and never reach it. Where as, if you shoot for so much more than that… if you don’t make it, you’ve still far surpassed “just good enough.”

Put it this way… if you aim for a 10… and get 9, you were close. But if you shoot for 50 and get 35…. well, you’re not really even close but aren’t you glad you didn’t shoot for 10?

I know, that’s incredibly simplistic but most anyone who’s put those methods into practice will tell you that this kind of mindset does work. It does force you to push harder than you have before.

In the case of Autism, you may get your child into therapy once a week, you may try to get him a teacher’s aid if funding is available…. where as, if you decide to shoot for so much more than an average life.. you will get on that phone, show up in government buildings weekly and have letters written daily in the mail pushing for a special education, separate therapists handling separate areas of development bi or even tri-weekly.

You don’t have to spend a fortune either… just have that desire, that hunger… that need to push for so much more than mediocrity.

It’s not that easy

When the average person begins learning business… they find that they need separate courses in management, finances, economics, human resource management and the list goes on and on.

The question is, do they start on this path with the intention of having a business that earns them minimum wage like their friends make… or to have a successful business and live a comfortable.. maybe even high class lifestyle?

The point is, nothing worth having is easy. It takes a life time to get the life’s worth of experiences to get yourself into a position to have a better life than the average person. These days, even winning the lottery won’t get that for you… most lottery winners claim bankruptcy within five years of getting their winnings. Why? Because they don’t have the life skills/experience to know how to manage that new lifestyle.

But I don’t care for all that

I hear ya, I have never cared for being rich myself but I sure would like to have enough money to be able to buy things I need without having to worry about whether or not I’ll still have enough for rent.

Truth be told, I’d love for Cameron to have an equal chance just like everyone else as well but that’s not my goal. I know there’s greatness within him… and I don’t know when or how it’ll show itself… I honestly don’t even know if it ever will, but it’s that greatness that I’m in search of.

If I never give up on that, if I always work towards that…. then one day he’ll far surpass mediocrity and I’ll have either reached the goals I had set out for him or I won’t but I’ll be proud of how far he was able to go.

I up rooted my family and moved to where I knew there would be teachers and a school system that would support him. I gave up my house and my job and friends and even my family to get him here… not because I want him to be average.

He was 3 and didn’t say a word…. but mediocrity wasn’t what I wanted for him. A lot of therapy later, working with him ourselves (his mother and I) and some radical sacrifices (giving up our home, moving and even giving up other things to afford therapy), he’s now speaking quite well and even reading three and four letter words. He’s even doing addition. He’s almost 6 now, starting grade one next year. He will surprise all those people who said he’d never have a “normal life.”

You don’t need to shoot for riches or to be the next great thinker for the history books… but don’t shoot for being average either.

Everyone is capable of so much more. Even if it may not seem like it right now, the potential is there. It’s up to you to never give up on it and it’s not going to be easy. But don’t feel guilty for shooting for the stars.

The Autism will always be there, in our children…. but so will their potential… so will their greatness.

Comments { 2 }