“There are no simple projects” has been our motto over the years. As we have trudged through many remodeling and repair projects, without fail, what seemed to start out as a simple project quickly became involved and complicated. There was the case of the leaky toilet. I made the trip to the hardware store to purchase a new wax ring (that’s what seals the toilet to the waste pipe in the floor). Should be simple; I’ve done it before, but this time, no.
When our house was built, I found out, the drain pipe was installed a little too high, causing a poor seal around the toilet and a slow leak. Another trip to the hardware store, this time to purchase pipe, wood for new sub-floor and joists, as well as new vinyl flooring. In the end, I have invested a lot more than I expected in money, time and effort. However this was the right way to do it and the end results were what I had hoped for.
Parenting a child who is a struggling learner or has special needs is not a simple project. Case in point – Sunday mornings. Daughter #1, our typically developed daughter, at 12 years old can be sent to her room to get dressed for church. She will return in a reasonable amount of time, dressed and with her hair combed. She knows we are going outside and will need her shoes. She knows we are going to church and will need her Bible.
Daughter #2 doesn’t process that way. At 12, we still need to guide her in picking out what to wear. She needs our help with her hair, as well as many other things we took for granted in our typically developed child. At the time when typically developed children are becoming more and more independent, the special needs child might need the time and energy given a preschooler (and our daughter’s difficulties are minor compared to many folks with whom we cross paths). By the way, we don’t dare send Daughter #2 alone to her room to find her shoes; she can become so distracted she may never return!
Homeschooling a child who has special needs also is not a simple project. You purchase a curriculum that is supposed to be great. You might have even used it before, but for this child it doesn’t work. Buy a “helps” book that’s recommended. Sounds great, but it doesn’t help. You hear of a program that may be what you need, but it is in the secular arena and you do not know what effects it will have on your child. Will it eat away at the Christian values you are trying to instill?
In our personal quest for information on how best to meet the needs of our special needs daughter, we found that it can be a very difficult and time consuming task. There are resources and information available, but they are often hard to locate and sometimes unbiblical. Through a series of events, the Lord has led us to begin a ministry called “JoyQuest” to help other parents in their quest to teach and train their children.
It is our desire to offer hope and help. We cannot solve everyone’s problems; we cannot answer everyone’s questions, only Jesus can do that. However, with much prayer we will endeavor to encourage and to collect, assemble and categorize information in an orderly, easy to use manner. We have developed a Web site for this purpose: www.joyquestonline.org If any of you have information or reference material you feel would benefit others, or know of a support group or co-op that would be supportive, please send that information to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the time I was working on that leaky toilet, I wished I had a plumber friend who could have come alongside and helped me or even done the job himself!. However, the experience helped me to learn and grow. Later then, I was able to help someone else with their leaky toilet.
God has blessed us with a job to do, even when we feel inadequate. II Corinthians 12: 9 says,“. . . My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God has given us that specific child. He chose that child for us and us for them before the foundation of the earth was made. He gave us the honor of teaching and training them, so they can fulfill the purpose for which they were made, for which all of us were made–to glorify God! Others may help us, but we have to do the work. We can only accomplish this awesome job by seeking God through His word (Psalm 10:7-11: 119:92, 105), encouraging one another (I Corinthians 1:3-7; Galatians), pooling our resources (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22) and through much prayer (Proverbs 16:3,9: James 1:5-6). The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.