“……turn and face the strain.” David Bowie
This week we hosted our gathering we call Salon. We talked about Change. We had the chance to talk about how fear of change balances with excitement about change and how trepidation and excitement are so closely linked and how we are better able to manage our fear of change when we feel connected and supported.
Connected and supported are the two things that come up every time we sit down and discuss complicated and difficult things.
Change. It’s all around us. Seasons, climate, elections, aging. Change our minds, change our space.
A friend posted on her Facebook page a story that a doctor had come to them to explain what he felt was “their reality.” That they as a family needed to be prepared to support their child for the rest of her life because, in his opinion, she would likely never hold a job or live independently.
The woman’s social media community reached out in kindness and anger and we all digitally held this mother’s hand with words of encouragement and solidarity.
Connection and support.
But it wasn’t enough.
When I think of opportunities for Square Peg and where we are going and how best to honor families needs, donors’ contributions and employee and volunteer efforts – I think about where we are going and I remembered something radical that my friend Rupert Isaacson said.
He was being interviewed and the interviewer asked him what his most dangerous idea was.
He didn’t hesitate – he knew exactly where he was going.
“What happens today is that a doctor walks into his office to confront anxious parents. He/she sits down, looks them in the eye and says ‘your child has autism. You must be prepared that your child may never live independently. He/she will need lifelong medication, special schooling and therapy. He may never talk or hold a job. You need to learn how to make visual schedules for everything and you will need special caregivers.’
Rupert’s wild and dangerous idea is this:
“Instead, the doctor walks into the office and addresses the same anxious parents by popping open a champagne bottle and pouring glasses and saying ‘you are in for a wild journey. Your child has a different neurological makeup than most of us. He sees the world differently and you, as his parent are going to learn more about this world than you ever imagined. You will learn more about yourself, about nature, about language and about emotions than anyone you know. You are going to meet some amazing people and your entire understanding of humanity will expand. So let’s toast to your new life and get this party started!’”
Change. A change in perception – a shift from trepidation to excitement. A change from feeling abandoned to feeling supported and connected.
This shift means everything. And the path for Square Peg becomes clear – to embody this shift from fear to engagement – from isolation to connection.
“………..And these children that you spit on – As they try to change their worlds – Are immune to your consultations – They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through”. David Bowie 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016