, , , , , , , , , , , ,


What a challenge and a blessing, walking with Cameron from preschool graduation (above) to Class of 2015 graduate.

For those of us who have children with learning disabilities, educational milestones like a high school or college graduation are especially significant. It is a very proud moment indeed, one that celebrates the journey as much as the goal.

My youngest son was diagnosed with ADHD at the onset of high school, and was greatly challenged by a rigorous curriculum at a new school in our district. He persevered and recently received his diploma as part of the first graduating class at his high school.

What I’ve been struck with in hindsight is how eager I was to compare my son’s journey to his older brother. These two intelligent boys forged their own educational paths through different schools. The older one started school at a very early age and rarely needed any homework help or guidance. He was considered the ‘perfect’ child and made parenting easy.

His younger brother put in a tremendous amount of effort, but was hindered by his learning disability from keeping pace with his course load. Before he was diagnosed, we didn’t understand how someone so bright could have so many academic problems.

He challenged my husband and me. At times it was hard to not internalize his academic struggles as a reflection of our parenting. At other times, I began to think I had failed him miserably.

Like other parents with more than one child, I learned the hard way what it means to be proud of, to love and respect my kids for each of their unique gifts. In the process, I also learned a lot from my son. His struggles with ADHD helped me to come to terms with my own adult-diagnosed ADHD. We pursued treatment together and bonded in loving ways.

As graduation neared, I was reminded of a friend who told me she prayed a blessing over her son every night when he was young. She would recite Deuteronomy 6:24-26.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

I was touched when I heard that she recently sent the Deuteronomy blessing to her now adult son in a card as he celebrated the first birthday of his daughter. What a beautiful spiritual legacy she is leaving her grandchild.

Blessing and praying for our children is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. Graduation seemed to be the perfect time for me to give my son the spiritual gift of a blessing. So I wrote this prayer/blessing:

May Cameron grow into maturity as a godly man, clinging to his faith when the challenges come his way. Lord, bless his hands and may the fruit of his labor serve to glorify you. When the time is right, bring a godly woman into his life that appreciates him for his uniqueness and heart of compassion. Lord, guide his footsteps and give him godly wisdom and discernment for the journey. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

I invite you to likewise write a blessing to say or silently pray over your children. Even if your kids are now adults, it’s not too late. I know the faithful prayers of my mother made a difference in my life. Pray about what the Lord wants you to say.

Our ‘imperfect’ children teach us that we are imperfect parents and imperfect people. However, if we are open to the Lord’s lessons throughout the challenges, we will also learn that we are perfectly blessed to steward them into adulthood.

~ Ardis A. Nelson