In a recent post on coaching, I described how I often find motivation from others that helps me to work at becoming a better parent and hopefully a better person. I’m often aware of taking input from others in this manner. Many people have coached me, most without even knowing that I thought of their input and advice as coaching.
Sports anologies are very cliche, I know. But to me the word coach has such a rich meaning that I’m going to risk overdoing the metaphors.
After writing my post on coaching, I caught up on some blog reading and a particular post got me thinking about how I process the blog writings of adult autistics. I recognized immediately that the coaching anology didn’t fit. However, another came to mind.
I’ve heard stories about young major league pitchers being ‘taught’ by a more senior player. As the stories often go, the senior pitcher doesn’t take on the role of a coach. Rather than giving lessons, or motivational speeches, the senior pitcher simply allows the junior to closely observe all that he does. Rather than saying “Do it this way”, he explains in great detail “Here’s how I do it.” It’s up to the younger player to figure out how to integrate what he sees into his own particular style.
There are quite a few adults with autism that take the same approach as those senior pitchers. They share their experiences, insights, successes, and struggles. As a parent, I find the opportunity to read, listen, and observe to be incredibly valuable. I repeatedly find insights that help me better understand different aspects of autism. I may not not be energized and charged up by the experience, but I’m left with insights that remain long after an energy burst would have subsided. These insights help me better understand what my sons’ experience but are not yet able to describe. I recognize that my sons’ experiences are their own and I can’t expect anyone else to be able to describe it for me. However, I do know that my insight is growing and I have the opportunity to use this new found knowledge it in whatever way I think will help my sons.
To those of you taking the time, effort, and risk of sharing your insights and experiences: Thanks!