I was born in the beautiful sunny state of California. I was also adopted so my parents weren’t my (real) parents. But they were my parents. My birth mom had fallen on extreme times and she had to make the gut wrenching decision to give me away. She did it because she loved me. Almost 30 years later I got a chance to meet her and hear about this love she had for me. I got to see what a wonderfully strong woman she was. Growing up, life was really confusing. Years later, after I had children of my own it all started to make sense. Love for my kids wasn’t just an emotion. It was a daily commitment to planned action. 

Life is a gamble and oftentimes truly unfair. There are many circumstances and ideologies we have no control over. Covid-19 being one of them. The weather also seems to seek out the vulnerable at the worst times. We can’t control the choices of our kids at all times either. The extension of love however, is our choice. Love is obtainable, applicable and transferable at any given moment. It can be offered at any time to any child even if they aren’t ours. It’s the most powerful human condition we possess. Love changes kids in ways I don’t believe can be studied and shown on paper. There is something so intrinsic and deep about the action of love. It’s undoubtedly an action of the soul.

Kids need a lot of support right now. With the onset of Covid-19 came a depression that has swept over the land. I see it in my kids. I see it in others. All their friends are gone. Their sense of normal has been changed forever. They talk with us every day but let’s be honest, at some point parents just aren’t that interesting! Riding the bus, seeing their with friends or simply looking out the window on the way to school was a big part of their daily routine. Online classes are a great way to educate for some personality types. For other’s it’s really not. Kids don’t have much say in their education at this point in time. The best thing we can do as parents is show our children a lot of love. They are depending on us to be strong, calm and effective leaders.  

My wife is an assistant for special needs children in public schools. A large majority of these kids can’t talk. A large majority of these kids have limited motor skills. Many have multiple siblings in the home and live with a single mom. Many of them can’t make complete sentences. They can’t use the restroom without help. They can’t run a computer. The parent is oftentimes also working online and cannot help the child for fear they will lose their job. The complexity of the situation is very real. Seeing my wife teach them school lessons over a computer screen is something for the history books. Occasionally, she will have to abort the lesson momentarily because the child is too overwhelmed. Then, just like angels from heaven, all the staff will take turns comforting and supporting the child in order to let them know. Hey! We love you! We’re going to get through this together and you can do it! 

If you had asked me a year ago about the idea of educating special needs children over a computer screen I would have deemed it impossible. Yet here we are in the wake of the pandemic. Day after day these kids are shown love and support. They are being told despite the circumstances you still matter. Your life has value. We care a great deal about you and most of all we love you. It’s a testament to children with special needs and the educators who dedicate their lives to them. I don’t know what is going to happen next. I don’t think anyone does. I do know one thing. If we have any chance of steering our kids through these deep waters it’s going to take a consistent commitment to extending our love. We are the backbone of our own creation. We are the ones who can create joy not only for ourselves but joy in our children. We get to choose our mindset and the ways we conduct ourselves. We get to set the example for our kids and others. It’s up to us to lead the way. The next time you feel yourself starting to crawl down that black hole of despair, cheer up friend and remember you can always choose love. Make love your action. Make love your condition. Above all else, make it who you are.