“A man’s wishes may not always determine his destiny, his mission; perhaps there are other predetermining factors.” –Narcissus and Goldmund
School has officially started for two months already. I am now juggling as a part-time teacher and part-time mother, wife, daughter, friend, etc. Hmm… I have to admit that I think parenthood is a full-time job with no leave, filled with unexpected embarrassment, zombie eye bags and space-out moments. Nevertheless, it is also filled with unspeakable sweet memories, unexpected joy, gratitude, and most definitely, a truly immense learning and growing experience.
Before I started out on this journey, I had a lot of doubts. Despite countless people reassuring me, from B to our family members, to many of my closest friends, I still had this innate fear.
I remember telling B, what if I fail? What if C becomes worse? I am not trained to teach preschoolers. Wouldn’t it be better if I continued my position, and we just pump in more money to sign C up with lessons with experts in the field? I remember him constantly telling me, if we look at things logically, the worst case scenario will be that C’s learning will remain stagnant. The better scenario, he will become better. Therefore, with me going on part-time, the worst case scenario is not bad since he doubt C will regress. Well, as my readers will know, I did make the decision and here we are today.
Two months on, C has actually progressed very well. He has met the educational goals that were meant to be attained in three months within a month. I am humbled and indeed blessed.
So why this entry today, with the header of ‘It’s time again.’?
As we all know, in the working world, there are protocols to follow, and it isn’t any different in the education world. As part of the organisation’s protocols, I have to submit my application to go on part time next year by end of July this year. I have submitted my application at the end of July, and when I did, I was asked to consider whether I would be returning as full time or part-time and whether I am returning as a normal teacher or continue with my previous designation. As my boss says, the application is something we have to do but if I am willing to go back to full time, the procedure to unwind the application is just a phone call away.
Due to this, I started to think again. C is progressing well. Does he still need me? Was his progress due to him growing up or have what I had done really contributed to his learning and speaking? I know for some, this decision comes easy but for me, it does create a pause in my mind.
I was glancing through some old photos and saw this photo (featured image and image attached above) that I took in Sydney years ago when I was there with B. I added the quote to the image after reading the book, Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse. I felt it was apt with the photo as I felt perhaps the birds did not wish to migrate but the change in weather dictated their path otherwise.
Personally, I think that this book written by Hermann has a really sad ending but it is also one of those books that makes me think. It makes me think about life and also the struggles we face along with it.
I have read this book twice, once in Uni and the other when I have started working, and during both times, the message that I receive is different but the fundamental theme is the same. This book, to me, is about the struggle and conflict between the soul/mind and the flesh, something very real in human lives. What I love about this book is that at different juncture of our lives, as we experience different things, this book can relate to us in a different manner. While this book has nothing to do with autism, it is an interesting read for who enjoy reading about such themes.
In the midst of my thinking journey, I decided to log onto Ted talks. It is one of those websites that I enjoy viewing as it contains amazing ideas, knowledge and speeches by people from around the world. Interestingly, this suggested video by Chris Varney came up. It is titled, ‘Autism – How My Unstoppable Mother Proved the Experts Wrong‘. I think parents who have children on the autism spectrum should watch this video.
In this video, Chris talks about how his mother created this world of network for him, that contributed to his success today. Today, Chris is an advocate for children’s rights. How did she do it?
Chris’ mother had this “I can” ethos, similar to Obama’s first presidential campaign. She believes in the gift and strength that Chris have. She refuses to let Chris use his autism as an excuse. She has built this network of people from family members to school teachers, from peers to friends, etc. to help him to work on his gifts and to help him to control his difficulties. Basically, Chris’ mother never stopped believing, never stopped building this network of support for him, and never stopped inspiring her son to excel and overcome his adversities.
After watching his video, the quote, ‘A man’s wishes may not always determine his destiny, his mission; perhaps there are other predetermining factors’ comes to my mind. I love my job. I gave up a lot to be in the teaching industry. But at the same time, I love my son. I realise what I want now for myself does not matter as much as what I want for C. I never thought I would think this way. Parenthood really changes people in a profound way. Perhaps I am like those Pacific Gulls, while they would love to stay in Sydney, but the change in weather have rendered them to fly on another path.
So while I love teaching and I love what I used to do. The changing winds and shifting sands have placed me on another path to walk on. And I will walk on it with unwavering faith, hope and love. I can.
My purpose now is to build this network of support for C, for him to excel, for him to overcome his adversities, for him to be loved and feel love each step of the way.
I can and you can too!