For Me, It Really Is about Forgiveness

©dswalkerauthor

©dswalkerauthor

I agree with Don Henley’s song, “The Heart of the Matter.”

The Mayo Clinic even agrees although in different words. You will find a total of 154 references to forgiveness, if you go to search their site. It is even part of a stress management and resilience program called SMART. Forgiveness is part of this structured program to develop a calm disposition. You can see two articles from the Mayo Clinic about forgiveness at the links below.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/forgiveness/MY01290

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/forgiveness/MH00131

Harvard Medical School has an article about the health benefits of forgiveness.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/power_of_forgiveness

You don’t have to look very far to see that most religions also talk about forgiveness. I’m not going to go into that here. You can look these up if you choose.

You may remember I mentioned Immaculee Ilibagiza, in my Lessons of Forgiveness blog on September 21, 2010. My point here is simply to point out that we are not the only ones who believe in the power of forgiveness.

I choose to continue to work to forgive, because I know holding onto anger causes me more harm than it causes those who hurt me in some way. Yet, as I said before, it is not easy, especially when people hurt my children in some way like the bullies hurt one of my children, and other children have tried to bully the other one. Don’t expect me to be a passive individual if you say or do something to harm my child, because remember that is when I am a lioness or grizzly bear.

Still, I continue to try to practice forgiveness in all aspects of my life, so I will forgive you just not right away. Hopefully, one day it will get easier to forgive the more I practice. Better still, maybe one day the world will be a place without bullies and where children on the autism spectrum, or with another type of difference are accepted, not mistreated.

Unlike Life, Fiction Makes Forgiveness Look Easy 5

I love fiction because you can write things the way you wish they were.  You can create as much support as you wish were available for families struggling to understand a child’s differences.  Fiction also allows the child with autism spectrum to be presented in a positive light.  Too many times real life does not do this.  People judge harshly when they do not understand, and somethings cannot be taken back.  They can hopefully be forgiven, but forgiveness sometimes takes time.

Most people have trouble forgiving people who deeply wound them, but add the dimension of Asperger’s and multiply the time and effort it takes to forgive by ???  I really do not have an exact number, as like neurotypicals, every individual on the spectrum is unique.  The wounds are certainly deeper, but then I think bullying deeply wounds any child.  Yet, in my book, Delightfully Different, Mia forgives after a couple of years.  I want to be clear; I love fiction!!!

I put most of the responsibility for forgiveness on Mia in the book.  In reality, I know the child with Asperger’s has to see the parent forgive first.  This is not easy for the parent either.  When someone wounds your child how do you forgive?  It certainly is difficult!  That is why I really am grateful to Immaculee Ilibagiza for her example.

Time and infinite support help us to learn how to forgive.  It is not something that comes quickly.  It involves baby steps, three forward, five back, then three-step forward again for what seems like an impossible amount of time, if it happens at all.  It also involves love and patience and acceptance of why the process is so difficult.  Ideally, it involves the other person meeting them at least half way, if not three-quarters of the way repeatedly.  When this does not  happen the process can take longer.  There is still hope, but it does take time.

A friend once told me that it is too bad that we cannot have a do over with our first child, the way we can with a piece of pottery when it crashes.  I really do not want a do over, but I do wish I had done so many things differently.  I love my children the way they are, so I would not do either of them over even if I could, but I would do it differently with the knowledge I have now.

Delightfully Different is a work of fiction, so Mia’s mother did things differently than I did.  She also has two wonderful sisters, while I have none.  The point I am making is do not assume the book is about my family, it really is not.  There are similarities because I am the writer and we write what we know, but I can assure you none of the characters in my story exist in real life.

Therefore, this story is not like Look Me in the Eye or Running with Scissors.  It isn’t like The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night either.  Remember all three of these were about boys or men, not girls.  The only meanness is from the mean girls.  The only sadness is from “normal” life events and the frustration caused by misunderstandings.

The subtle traits Mia’s family and doctors miss are real traits of Asperger’s that are frequently missed especially in girls, the bullying Mia experiences really happens every day in our schools.  The rest is just a story that I totally enjoyed writing, and I hope you will enjoy reading.

I welcome your comments and after you have read the story, I welcome your reviews on the bookstore sites, as well as here.

Silence Is Not Always Golden 2

I know many of my friends and loved ones believe “Silence Is Golden.”  However, for those of us who are striving to promote understanding, tolerance, and acceptance for our loved ones, your silence really isn’t golden.  It is not golden if you witness bullying either. Bystanders have to learn the importance of speaking up and they need to be rewarded for doing so.

Changing the world to place where all humans are equally valuable and where people honor and respect differences is my mission. That is why I wrote Delightfully Different.

It is my first novel, so frankly I was not sure I could write it.  I know I couldn’t have done it justice without help.  I was fortunate to have multiple people who came forward to offer advice during the writing process.  One was a dear friend who is a free-lance editor.  I thank her by name in the book, but I won’t name her on the Internet for she’s modest.  I even had multiple people read drafts of my book along the way.  I was fortunate to have two local authors who gave me insights about their adventures in writing and publishing too.  When I explained that I knew I needed an editor, and that I was thinking about self-publishing, they recommended iUniverse.

I want to also clear the air regarding any concerns you may have about my children or even about my extended family.  My daughter’s story inspired the novel, but it is not a true story. The true story would have you crying so hard you would need a box of tissues.

There may be parts of the book that make you cry, but the story is only sad due to misunderstandings, the bullying and normal life events. The bullying is not as severe as the real bullying my daughter experienced. All of the characters good, bad, and indifferent exist only in my imagination. My children both supported my endeavor.  They both also know the importance of understanding and tolerance of others, and I’m very proud of them for this.

I long to hear your thoughts about my posts, about my novel, and about my campaign to change the world to a place that is free of bullies. Therefore, I welcome your comments, your e-mail subscriptions, your following my blog, your liking my Facebook page, your following me on Twitter or any other way you are comfortable showing your support of this endeavor.

Mahalo,

D. S. Walker

The Right Way to Prevent Bullying

Purchased Clipart Collection Version 1.2 (2.2) Copyright ©Macmanus. All rights reserved.

Purchased Clipart Collection Version 1.2 (2.2) Copyright ©Macmanus. All rights reserved.

Today’s title is linked to a story from Valhalla, New York:http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local&id=7772087

It is about triplets who started a program to educate younger kids in how to prevent bullying. I strongly advise you to watch this. All schools need to encourage more programs like this one. I hope when colleges look at community service, they give these seniors bonus points because they are examples of upstanders.

I love school systems that encourage older children to look out for younger ones. The seniors told the middle school children things that were important, like that threatening and harassing text messages should be reported to their parents and to the police. They also taught them that bystanders could and should speak up, as they make a difference. This is the type of message that needs to be given more often. Schools programs that teach children how to be good citizens and what laws can be used to protect themselves are so needed today. I hope you will help to pass this message on to others.