“I’ll pray for him to get up.”
Those words were so timely. So relevant, sincere, innocent, precious….
My little prince has trouble with change. When my husband and I made the decision to leave the Church I had attended since I was a baby—the church I was baptized at—the church where my father’s funeral was held—the church where we were married, the decision was not taken lightly. But, we needed a spiritual change. We needed new experiences and challenges. So, we moved to a local Church that offers a Latino ministry. I’m brushing up on my Spanish. My husband is teaching the Latino Bible Class. We are learning so much about the Cuban culture, even though we have a language barrier. One Sunday morning, I was substituting as the Bible School teacher, and we had three languages going—English, Spanish, and Sign Language.
Our little prince is doing quite a bit of teaching as well. It’s amazing how his smiles and waves can meld two cultures. I know cultures are different particularly when it comes to children with special needs. So, I am not incredibly surprised when my prince gets a few looks, but those looks often end in smiles.
But, this story isn’t about my experiences with the Latino culture and our cultural differences. Instead, it’s about acceptance.
One Wednesday evening while my husband taught the adult class, I took my little prince and a Latino child to a classroom for a Bible story. My lesson plan included Noah, a few songs, and a craft. But, my little prince wasn’t cooperating. In his own way, he was telling me he was tired. He knocked his paper in the floor, tossed a crayon across the table, whined, screamed, and started jumping. The other child continued to do the planned activities but would occasionally cast a long stare in Caden’s direction. I took no offense, because I understood this was different from the norm. This young man goes to a private school that does not have children with special needs.
After redirecting Caden and assuring him we would leave soon, I turned to the child and said, “Caden can’t express himself very well; however, he is trying to tell us that he is tired and ready to go home.”
“Oh. He really likes to jump.”
“Yes, he needs to do that from time to time. He has something called Down syndrome. Because of it, he can’t talk very clearly, and he needs extra help doing different things.”
With a big smile he said, “I’ll pray for him to get up.”
Get it? Down and Up. Simple. Perfect.
It took me a minute to understand his thought process. I responded with, “We could certainly use those prayers.”
And, isn’t that the case? Don’t we all need a few prayers to “get up?”
If you have a child with special needs, I am certain you have moments where you need prayers to “get up.” We have bad days. We have sad days. We have days where we feel like “throwing in the towel” and spending the rest of our days on a beach—or maybe that is just me. Some days we might feel alone and resent those who don’t understand our dilemmas. We need prayers to just “get up.” What about our kids? They experience challenges, feel anxious, and get overwhelmed. Our children could use some prayers to “get up” as well.
That sweet, innocent 8 year-old is wise beyond his years. And, I am confident before he went to sleep that night he said a prayer for my little prince in hopes he would “get up.” And, that’s ok. In fact, it was appreciated.