One day they will… because I did not give up

I went out with a girlfriend yesterday morning. We got to know each other about 5 years ago when both of our children were at kindergarten. She has a daughter who has some developmental delays so we have been exchanging notes and encouraging each other through the years.

I have three boys and they all have some kind of learning challenge. It is very tiring being a mother of children like that. I count my blessings because my children are responsive emotionally, are able to attend mainstream school and do not have any physical challenges.  But on many occasions I lament and ask why do I not have “normal” children and wonder how many people truly understand what I go through.


When Samuel was in P1, I met his school principal and brought along his psychological report.
She spent more than 50% of the meeting time explaining the report slowly to me and emphasizing the importance of reading to the child (insinuating that I have not done enough).
If I had been a first time mum, I would have left the meeting feeling lousy and guilt-ridden for not having done enough.
But I had already brought up two avid readers so I just felt some amusement but mainly patronised and insulted.

My girlfriend told me about an acquaintance of hers who would constantly ask after her children and try to prescribe solutions. Her acquaintance has a son at a top secondary school and another daughter who is in the Gifted Education programme.  She said “She does not understand”.

I have been through that myself. It is easy to feel resentful towards others who seem to have it easier and feel bitter about my own situation. But I can’t blame the blind for not being able to see, and every heart has its own sorrow – it is just that we do not see it. So I simply learnt not to share too much unless I am sure of the audience.

I shared with my girlfriend yesterday, that one question I constantly ask myself whenever I get upset with my children is whether I still love them.

And if the answer is “Yes”, then I must keep on going. If he had forgotten for the 5th time what I just taught him yesterday…. I must teach it again. If he has shouted at me, openly defied me and lied to me, for the zillionth time…. I must forgive him, (even if he has not apologised). If I have been training him to do something for the past one year and he was doing it successfully for a month but drops the habit in the 2nd month… I must start the training all over again.


Why is it so hard? It is because it is hard to mould a child in the first place. For me in particular, it is hard because I had chosen to be home-maker by vocation – keeping home and bringing up my children is what I have chosen to dedicate my life to.

It is also hard because I truly believe in every one of my child and I believe that everything can be overcome. (If I don’t believe that, but take the fatalistic view that somehow my child is defective in the first place and nothing can be done to help him, then it would be easy to just give up).

I believe in Acts 17:26 – that God had placed the three boys in our home for a specific reason. The fact that God had placed them with us tells me that we are exactly the kind of parents that they need.


One night, they were all doing work quietly.
This was with the air-conditioner on and the promise of ice-cream after that.
One of my sons likes to say – we are a weird family.
It is true. We use rewards so judiciously that simple things like ice-cream actually works.
It is very difficult to motivate children intrinsically, from the inside-out.
But it is still our method of choice after all these years… We press on!

No, they are currently not disciplined, driven and organised like I am. But they will be.

God had placed them with me, so imbuing them with these qualities is my job. God had placed them with me, so all the skills, knowledge and experience which I will gain in this life, are to be transferred over to them. God had placed them with me, so all that I am and will become is all that they will in turn need for the fulfillment of their calling. They stand on our shoulders. They will continue the task which God has given to our family. They will add their own geniuses to it and their children will add theirs.

So what if the answer to the question “Do I still love them” is a “No”? Then it will be very sad for the children. There is no love like a parent’s love and no one can be a better champion and coach for a child than his/her own parent.

However, there is a heavenly Father who is watching over every single life – even if you are already an adult. He is the Father of every lonely heart. He is our “forever-father”.

Nearly everyday, I feel helpless about one of my child. Some nights I go to bed exhausted and dejected. Some days I wake up hoping for hope, but having no energy and seeing no solution. But time and again, God will show me the light of a door, slightly ajar. When I walk through that door, I find myself in a new, large place and the labours start again.


Recently we went to watch a concert to support a friend.
Before that I think one of them made me upset,
or one of the boys was upset with another, I cannot recall.
But we had already made arrangements for this, so we went ahead.
God uses such occasions for our relationships to mend because we bore no grudges after that outing.

I don’t think parents of special needs children have been treated unfairly compared to others. God gives us each according to what we can bear, and what we need.


I thank God for everyone of my child, although it is easier to be thankful on some days than on others.

What a lovely quote. I agree.
This is one of the reasons why I am thankful for the children I have.
Compassion is difficult to instill in people who have no struggles and no pain.

Now that I have these children, let me humbly learn to do what I can humanly do, and do that which is most important to do.

For the rest, they either do not matter, or God will handle.

[Note : For this reason, I encourage those who can, to either adopt or foster a child. The best gift for a child is a loving home. There is a child out there who needs a mother and a father, to believe in him/her, to never give up on him/her, and to help him/her to be all that he/she was made to be.]

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