It was New Year’s Eve. Our family loves to get our favorite snacks—an odd mix, from pigs-in-blanket and guacamole, to gourmet cheeses and crackers—and enjoy a good, cheesy science fiction movie. This year, we sat down to watch the latest X-Men movie.
When you watch or read science fiction, you know you have to ignore some loopholes. But in this X-Men film, I saw a flaw I couldn’t ignore, because you have proved them wrong.
In these X-Men tales, many of the main characters, mutants with superpowers, are orphaned or abandoned, unappreciated by their parents. In X-Men: Days of Future Past, I only saw one parent. She was so pessimistic about her son that she mistook our heroes for police coming to question him. Her first line was “What’s he done this time?” Without parent support, the misfit mutants must band together to survive.
Yet I’ve met hundreds of parents of exceptional children, and you don’t abandon your kids who learn differently. Far from it!
And you have your own superpowers. You’re each different, but I’ve noticed four powers you have in common:
1. Focus – the fathers and mothers I meet at conventions around the world are far from abandoning their kids. You seek solutions for their children. Your intelligence and dedication come through in your questions, your disciplined search for help, and your drive.
2. X-ray vision: You see the gifts of your children, or you wait for their gifts to appear.
You aren’t the sort of gardener that rips out roses because they aren’t blooming in January. You cultivate your kids.
3. You are educating creatively. Steve Demme tells me when parents need ideas adapting his Math-U-See program for struggling learners, they ask a question on their Facebook page. Dozens of parents jump in with suggestions. I’ve seen the same creativity on Special Needs Homeschooling and Special Needs Homeschool pages, Well Trained Mind’s special needs forum, and other homeschool sites.
4. Above all, I see you endure. Sure, you get tired, even exhausted. But like heroes (in cheesy movies and great epics alike), you keep going. Sometimes you need time in your Fortress of Solitude. All of you need your sidekicks and your team. But you press on.
On January 20, I launched Encouraging Your Child, my newest book. It will help you on your superhero quest. If you signed up to get my newsletter, you learned about a special bonus, a free study guide, for those who buy it this week. In Encouraging Your Child, I describe how to help your children keep going and how to praise them effectively.
For example, praise needs to be specific. So in this blog, I didn’t just tell you that you’re wonderful. I spelled out character traits I see as I have meet many of you. Naturally, talking to an individual adult or child, I should be much more specific. But the principle is the same.
I want to encourage you parents, as I equip you to encourage your children. So this week, I’ll give away a copy of Staying Sane as Your Homeschool. Leave a comment below to enter to win it.m
[And maybe someday, we’ll see Professor Xavier at a homeschool convention!]