28 July 2011

Patience Please

A deficit in executive functioning can cause some interpersonal communication issues. I regularly hear, "Mum?!" as an introduction to conversation (just like all mothers). I of course answer "Yes". Then there is a looooong pause (several beats) while he tries to organise his thoughts into a coherent sentence or question.

I have to really restrain myself sometimes from jumping in impatiently and telling him to hurry up (which I will admit I sometimes say anyway, I'm human after all!). If I do jump in without thinking, he has to start over and it takes him twice as long to communicate, so effectively I have made the situation more difficult for myself by being impatient.

Once, when he was about nine years old, he approached a teacher by name. She answered him, and then he said, "Uhm..." while he was gathering his thoughts together. She immediately said, "I don't listen to people who say uhm," turned on her heel, and walked off, leaving him confused and sad.

I know, I know - you're incensed to read that story (and if you're not, please read it again). Let me tell you, it certainly fires me up to share it. I can't bear the way adults so often disrespect children.

But do you know what? Instead of getting all enraged, I like to wonder to myself what wonderful warm little moment that mean-spirited woman cheated herself out of that day, all because she couldn't wait a few measly seconds.

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