Social Resolutions

 

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Here we are again. It’s the last day of another year. A year feels like nothing now, but I guess overall I haven’t seen as many as it feels like I have seen. Something about starting a new cycle of anything, even something as simple as a date on the calendar, inspires people to gather up what they took from the last and make promises for the next. 

So what is it going to be this year?

This past year I haven’t spent much time writing about autism or participating in the online parenting community. I procrastinate until the last day of each month to give an update, because I don’t want to let go completely. It’s a way to step back and reflect on what has been going right for us and to think about what we want for our daughter going forward.

The other day I had a lengthy interaction with another blogger in another blogging world I participate in. Our discussions have nothing to do with autism or parenting, but rather finding common ground between two people who couldn’t be further apart when it comes to figuring out the universe. But we manage to talk about it without things turning ugly. It takes patience to actively participate in polite misunderstandings, and I appreciate the rare person who can do it.

The conversation actually took place throughout the day and on three different blog posts. In the end there was one thing we agreed on: we both want to believe in something that makes sense, but what makes sense isn’t going to be the same for everyone.

It certainly is not the same for the two of us. It is amazing to me the lengths we must go to in order to come to that simple conclusion. We are attracted to the idea that right and wrong are always present; and if we also assume that they are always absolutes, then we want everyone to be on the same side.

Autism definitely woke me up to the different ways we are all wired, but it affects all of us in every area of life. We make the mistake of believing that others use the same thought processes and see things at least in a similar way to us, but that is often a false assumption. And because our social responses are automatic, recognizing that reality about others is kind of like me remembering that my daughter’s lack of response to things doesn’t mean what I am wired to think it means. Because everything in life is within six degrees of autism. Or sometimes just one.

We like the pieces to fit, but we aren’t all carrying around the same puzzles. Your pieces might not work with any of mine. Since I find myself regularly interacting with people on topics such as philosophy and religion, and because we are embarking upon what promises to be an emotionally-charged election year here in the United States….

My New Year’s resolution is to reduce the time it takes me to recognize when someone is working on a different puzzle than me. And I might hate their puzzle; so I also need to know the difference between when that‘s okay, and when it’s time to slowly ease the pieces out of their hands for the safety of themselves and others.

If I can master that skill, then figuring out the social habits of my eight year old should feel easy.

 

 

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