Parent, YOU Are Capable

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Tom and Julie Meekins - -

Now that our Amy has reached the ripe old age of 19 and 1/2, we talk often about who she is and where she would like to go and what she would like to do. Recently, when we were having a March Forth Family business meeting, we took a break to have this conversation:

Julie: Question: What are your oldest memories?

Amy: 2002 - Being in Leah and Hawk's wedding as a flower girl

2004 - When I met President Bush and got a picture with him.

2006 - in Grandpa's Motor Home at a campground doing Karaoke.

Julie: Tell me about your siblings:

Amy: Katie - I am most like her than anybody in the world. We both like Nancy Drew Video Games, Social Media stuff  even if she does like animals -- which I don't. Katie is married to Rohan. We both are pretty shy but he likes me to scratch his head.

Becca. She is four years older than me. We both like to bake and I just love the times we get to do that. We also like to watch tv on youtube.

Josh. He is 2 1/2 years older. He is engaged to Kimberly which means I will get another sister. I am a drama queen and Josh is a drama king. I love when we get to play games together like Skip-Bo.

Julie: What do you consider to be your biggest blessing?

Amy: My family. I cannot imagine what my life would be without them.

Julie: What is the hardest thing you are dealing with right now?

Amy: Unemployment.

Julie: What kinds of things would you like to do for work?

Amy: I would like to do marketing using social media & videos. It would be great to do some voice acting. Maybe some graphic designing.

I would love to be an actress.  I also would love to work with Herr Interactive -- the company that makes Nancy Drew Computer Games.

Julie: Do you consider yourself as having special needs?  

Amy: Sometimes.

Julie: When people look at you, what do you think people see.  

Amy: A friendly smile. Little kids see something else because they stare at me.

Julie: What are your special needs?

Amy: I have CHARGE syndrome. I AM not CHARGE -- I just have it. It is just something that happened to me.

Julie: Does CHARGE Syndrome keep you from doing what you want to do in life.

Amy: Not really.

Julie: What are your dreams?

Amy: I would love to be on the Ellen Show or a show closer to where I live like maybe out of New York City.

And there you have it. We just love Amy's outlook on life. She IS not CHARGE Syndrome or any of the special needs that may come from that label.

This grown woman who had such a bleak prognosis in infancy has big dreams. She is quite capable of fulfilling those dreams, too, if she sets her mind to it and the opportunities present themselves. She has worked very hard for her accomplishments. Her siblings have worked with her, too. We, her parents, have poured lots of targeted effort and energy into her development and well being. We all have loved her well.

Mom and Dad, YOU can guide your children to have big dreams, too. You can work with your children to move them along in their development just like we did. We are just like you. We know you have to concern yourself with working, paying bills, fixing things when they break in your home, doing the laundry, feeding kids, cleaning house, clothing kids, helping with schoolwork, and a million other things. Dauting to think about it all. We hear you.

We also know that if you choose to take on helping your children to the next stage of their development, it would not be a wasted effort. It will be the one of the most important decisions you make for them for now and for their future. But you shouldn't do it alone. Look for and build community around  you and your child to get support. Find the right professionals to help you -- the ones who genuinely have your child's best interest at heart and with whom you resonate. Find the people in your life who really care to walk with you in your journey of parenting for a while -- family, friends, coaches, teachers, etc.

YOU are capable to help your child. We often heard comments that parents should not be the ones working with their children in enhancing development. We do not agree. Parents just need to be encouraged, educated, equipped and supported.

Our children do need other adults in their lives to round out their growing up but YOU can also have a very vital piece in helping them with developmental milestones, with academics, with nutrition, etc.

YOU are the best parent for YOUR child. No matter how they came to you or what is going on with them.


With much love,

Tom and Julie

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