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Posts Tagged ‘caregiving’

     Do you ever wonder what your personal responsibilities are?  I mean, most people understand that they must work, take care of their children, nuture their personal relationships, and pay their bills; what else is there?  Being a responsible person is a way of life; are you required to take care of others outside the close personal limits of your immediate family?  Who and what are you responsible for?  Are there limits to your responsibilty legally, physically, spiritually, emotionally or morally? 

      Have you ever heard the saying, “Are you your brother’s keeper”?  Human beings are complex creatures.  We have layers of self, one upon the other…each with their own wants and needs.  For those who are spiritual seekers of truth; there are teachings which encourage us to reach beyond the demands of our own personal flesh-n- blood, wants and needs.  My road map is the Bible.  Everything i need to know to be a successful and fulfilled person is included in that instruction manual.

       God wants us to follow his leading; we are to grow and learn how to praise him and serve others.  This is not always convienent in today’s society,  according to the world’s values. That attitude of becoming a servant requires a bit of sacrifice on our part.  Many people run from their own responsibilities and refuse to accept that they have a moral responsibility to reach out to others.   And there are others who do not consider themselves spiritual beings who still manage to be service minded…realizing that there is value to connecting with and recognizing need in others. 

      Understand, I am not talking about enabling others to continue to be irresponsible…but instead, teaching and inspiring others to take up the challenge of  meeting their own obligations when they are able.   To do that, they must be inspired, they must have knowledge, skills, opportunities and funding…once that happens, they too can become a servant to pass it on to others.

        Responsibility is something that we must strive for.  When everything is going smoothly…it is because we have acknowledged our responsibilities and have submitted ourselves to the service of God. 

        God says that we are to take care of the widows and the children; we are to befriend the poor.  When we see suffering in the world and we have the ability, the skill, the opportunity to help ,then we must consider it a priviledge and a responsibility to do so.  What are you willing to do for those around you?  Do you know someone who has a need? Can you listen when someone needs to talk, can you spend time with someone who is lonely, are you capable of performing a chore that someone else cant do and needs done? 

      There are so many ways to be of service to another fellow human being…it is simply a matter of being aware and observing those around you and being willing to be helpful.  People in need are all around us…it will change your life to see the world through the eye and heart of a servant of God.

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       Here is a story i could sink my teeth into since i am the parent of several special needs children.  A young boy, by the name of Adam Race, has been banned from the church that he has attended since 1996.  He has been banned because he is autistic, and is very large.   He has several behavioral challenges that the church is suggesting endangers other attendees.

        Adam’s priest by the name of Daniel Walz has filed a restraining order against the 13 year old’s parents; which the mother has violated.  Understand that Adam is only 13; however, he is six feet tall and weighs somewhere around 225 pounds.  The sheer size of the young man is definately something to consider. 

       The priest alledges that Adam has struck another child during services and that in his zeal to leave the building, has at times almost knocked over elderly parishioners.  Adam has also run out of the building and, started a couple of vehicles to hear the “calming roar of the engines”.  This is another danger concern.   Adam sometimes has a problem holding his urine; and, if he needs to be restrained during difficult behaviors, he fights it.  The mother and father, do at times, have to restrain him.  This can all be quite disruptive; and that, plus the concerns for safety, has led the priest to file the restraining order.  The priest felt they had no other choice.

        It seems that before that filing, the priest and a church trustee attempted to discuss their concerns with Adam’s parents.  They offered the family other options and accomodations to deal with the behavioral issues.  The family refused.  It hasn’t been revealed what those other accomodations were.  The family has defied the restraining order and continued to attend church with their son.  By the way, this is a family of seven.

       I have special needs children as i said before.  I have also been a foster parent to many special needs children who were behaviorally challenged.  I know the stress of that.  I know the need of sitting in church to receive peace and a strengthening of my faith.  I also, am well aware that most of the time…it is much more stressful trying to achieve that goal of peace and strength in a very public setting with others who have no idea of the daily struggles living and providing for special needs young people requires.

        You see, you need special training to deal with some of the behaviors and special requirements.  So you can’t just happily send a special needs child off to a sunday school classroom with people who are unprepared or untrained in those skills. 

        My husband and I have been teachers in several church settings.  We know what it is like to be the teachers or instructors in charge .  We have had to teach and sometimes handle special needs children or teens in that environment as well. 

          One time, we did have a young man who was also very large for his age and autistic.  It was a child that did not attend regularily, this program was a vaction bible school event.  The platform was a raised one.  All of the children were encouraged to stand in front of the platform during praise and worship.  Then, when that was done, they were encouraged to sit down in the rows of pews.  The young man in question, at one point, ran to the front while the puppets were performing.  My brother- in- law, who was a weight lifter, was operating a large puppet that included having his arm encased in a fur lined sleeve.

       The young man ran up on stage and grabbed my brother-in-laws arm and pulled it down over the front of the puppet stage and almost broke my brother-in-laws arm.  It took several people to disengage him.  It was something we were un-prepared for.  The parents had dropped him off during the services and left.  This was unusual…because the other days of that week, they had stayed with him and helped to keep him under control when he would get overly excited.  Communication is key in these situations.  Educate the workers or volunteers to the special skill sets that they will need to work with special needs youths successfully!

        Most of the time, having special needs children in church is workable.  You discuss with the family members or care givers what works for each child as an individual.   Maybe you can even get the parents to help volunteer in the children’s program to help out. You do your best so that the caregiver can get a couple of hours of peace and “down time” from the strains of 24/7 caregiving, if possible.   Raising awareness about those who live with special needs children and providing support is the goal of this website:  http://www.growingupspecial.com/  (more…)

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