I have some pretty amazing kids.
Sunday morning, my youngest posted a comment on Facebook that made this abundantly clear.
“The shit I find on my newsfeed. People that actually want to see this and disrespect Robin and his family’s privacy disgust me. Robins family literally asked the media and people alike not to bother them so they can mourn his death. But yet the stupid ass media had live feeds from a helicopter after his death pointing at his family’s house. What if his children are on Facebook and happen to come across this picture? Humanity everyone!”
The picture he was referring to was a still of a security camera recording from Robin Williams’ home after his suicide. It clearly shows proof of the act.
The second example of my kids’ awesomeness was just now. My eldest was challenged to the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. He couldn’t wait to climb on board the YouTube sensation that has gone viral. He remembers ALS from the book, Tuesdays With Morrie, and wanted to add his name to the list of people who want to raise awareness of this debilitating disease.
These two examples show how unique my sons are.
The eldest, Wil, has been living with autism, but he refuses to fall victim. Unlike many autistic children, he wants to be involved. He wants to help. Although he still has moments of solitary confinement, he pulls himself out sometimes and forces himself to become part of the community. Although for many young boys, the Ice Bucket Challenge would be easy and fun, for a typical autistic child, the response is to not get involved.
Wil has never been typical.
My sixteen-year-old, Thomas, who started his Senior year this week, is unique in his own way. Unlike a lot of the students who wander in and out of my classroom most years, Thomas does not want to see what happened to this man who represented happiness to many of us and was a visible part of his childhood memories. It’s not that he’s avoiding the news. He just doesn’t think it’s right to invade a family’s privacy the way the paparazzi have done.
These kids were good souls from the moment they were born, but I know their development to this point is also thanks to a multitude of positive guidance from family, teachers and, of course, their father and me. (I’m an English teacher and writer, “me” is proper in this usage!)
This is not to say my kids are perfect. Trust me, they’re far from it. Family battles and necessary punishments have made my hair turn gray at the temples! But I am proud of my boys. I wouldn’t trade them for the world!
Thanks to all who have been involved in their development, including the members of our family, Thomas’s girlfriend, Kayla, and Wil’s former teacher, Karen Uhle – a magnificent woman who guided her autistic students to successful graduation.
I marvel every day at my good fortune. I know the odds are statistically against most children nowadays. I have known good kids who for one reason or another fell down a path that led to temporary, sometimes permanent, failure.
Raising a child is not easy. It’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s not for nannies and teachers alone. Many times, it really does take a village to raise a child! I am grateful to my “villagers.”