Parents DO Understand (Sometimes)

One of the biggest challenges I have found as a pastor is parenting. If you know me, you know I've become "family before ministry" over the past 15 of my (almost) 20 years working full-time in vocational church work. In all honesty, the first 5 years I didn't have my priorities right.  Still, parenting is definitely a challenge, although I love being a Daddy.  I would say this is probably true no matter what your profession is.

For Shelly & I this challenge includes the reality that the youngest of our three boys is autistic. He is low on the spectrum, and highly functioning, which for us only heightens the challenge of understanding how to handle the day-to-day quirks, frustrations and occasional (these days) meltdowns.

This week, was the school Christmas program.  We thought it would be fun for him to wear something festive (like his older brother).  Having no "Christmas attire," Shelly printed out a Santa-style pattern to iron-on one of his t-shirts.  I thought it would be really cute if he would wear a Santa hat with it, to which she reminded me that its often a fight to get him to wear anything on his head.  He proceeded to protest the shirt: "I can't wear a Santa shirt, I'm not Santa. I have to wear a school shirt!" Before he reached being on the verge of tears, Mom let him take it off and wear a regular uniform shirt.  He went to school happy.

Later, we were enjoying the school Christmas program - all the songs and reading and laughter.  Plus, we felt it was really cool that our little rural public school was definitely making Jesus the subject of the program.  Towards the end, 1st Grade finally comes in - a live Nativity - all in great costumes.  And there is our guy - IN FULL CAMEL GEAR! He even walked like a camel and sat by the manger like a camel.  (In last year's program he was all over the place) Amazing!  Turns out, he was right.  He couldn't wear a Santa shirt, because he was a camel, not Santa!


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