We’ve had a lot of people praising us for making such a big sacrifice for our kids and for advocating in their best interest. They’ve offered affirmations and praise for our decision, and they applauded us for changing our kids’ lives by taking them to The Morris Center. True…..somewhat. We did invest in their futures and sacrifice time away from home to bring them here. However, we aren’t the ones changing their lives. We are simply the vessel for getting them where they need to be to change their own lives.
THEY DID IT! They changed their lives themselves. The Morris Center offered the science, the answers, the tools and the program that guided them in the right direction. But ultimately it was up to them. The staff couldn’t do if for them. They had to put in the work. And it was HARD WORK! At any point they could have shut down and said, “I’m done. This is too hard and I’m tired.” In all honestly, I heard these words from their mouths more than once. Each time they said something along these lines, that sinking feeling of helplessness would creep into my soul. It felt so familiar and gave me flashbacks to just a few short months before. Those feelings had become the norm. It certainly looked like the same frustration as before. But this time something was different. When they would reach the point of exhaustion and feel like quitting, they didn’t. They still woke up every morning, got in the car and worked their tails off all day. Sure, they did their share of moaning and groaning about going 5 days a week for 7 hours a day. But they never gave up. Instead, they kept showing up and buckling down to put in the work. They were committed to the program and determined to finish.
So, what made them continue? What was motivating them? The trinkets they received at the end of the day from the treasure box weren’t that magical (btw….if anyone needs a stress ball…we got you covered!!!). Why did they willingly go every day and fully engage in learning (ahem….at least most of the time…Cannon, I’m lookin’ at you)? The answer is clear. This program wasn’t like what they had done before. This program was working. They KNEW it was helping them. More than just the adults noticed the difference it was making. They recognized it too! Learning was beginning to feel different to them. Suddenly, they weren’t dreading those long chapter books. Decoding words was becoming automatic. They were not only reading with more fluency, they also comprehended what they read. They could visualize in great detail the stories they were reading and they were able to recall those same stories days, weeks, and even months later. By the end, they were challenging themselves to out-perform their last session/OT work/movie-making. One of the speech pathologists told us about Cannon describing his story and then starting over later, saying, “Let me start over. I can do that better.” By the end, learning was different. For the first time, learning felt EASY! Even the defiant tween couldn’t deny that this “stuff” was helping him.
Once home, our amazing support system celebrated Cannon & Avery’s accomplishments. So many were curious about what they had done and how it had helped. A lot aren’t exactly sure what we went there to do, but still applauded the success. Others are in the dyslexia tribe, with struggling children. They are all eager to know how The Morris Center worked and if it truly was too good to be true. (I’ll share more about my thoughts on that in another post). We welcome the conversations and appreciate their interest in our children. At some point in almost every conversation, we would inevitably hear the praises for our sacrifice. We had changed our kids’ lives. And every time I heard that, I would say, “we didn’t do it. They did it for themselves.”