Teachers Come In All Shapes And Sizes

By Brigitte Shipman | Nov 21, 2020. | Autism, Mother Guides, Life Lessons

In my memoir Is It A God Thing I share the lessons that I have learned from my life tsunamis. I have learned that teachers come in all shapes and sizes. Perception is not always reality. 

When I dreamt of being a mother I knew I would love being the nurturer, the teacher, the mother guide of life. What I didn’t know is that I was going to be the student. 

The most profound lessons of my life have been taught by my two sons. They both have taught me to be more than I thought I could ever be as a human being. I am a better human because of them. 

Being a mother is my greatest honor. I found courage inside myself that I didn’t know existed. But I was uncertain of the future Joseph would have because of his autism diagnosis. It turns out that my son has more gifts than I can even dream of having myself. 

Joseph’s passion is music. He also can pick up a paintbrush, pencil, or clay, and create the most unique works of art. I am proud to showcase his pieces of artwork. I have his pieces of artwork and poems all over our home. I also am looking forward to what other gifts he creates that I can showcase. 

I have admired his vision and creativity since he carved pieces of soap into elephants in his high chair. I love that he is currently working at our local radio station. 

I love sharing this story, the story of how my son, who is on the autistic spectrum, has become so successful. Some believed, when he was young, that his life’s primary goal would be to speak and communicate well enough to function in his life.

He taught the lesson that although our society has certain landmarks we must reach to have a happy life, this is only a perception.

He has taught me that you can be happy being different. Being authentic is the ingredient that is the hardest to find as you go through life. He has this ingredient. He authentically lives his life beautifully with profound intelligence. He is much wiser than his mother guide.

As a mother guide we spend our time worrying about how our child's life will turn out. We are consumed with guilt, worry, and judgment. I often wondered if I was doing enough for my son. Does Joseph understand what I am teaching him about life? Will someone take advantage of his innocence? How will he know what to do when hard times come his way? 

I have gotten comfort learning from Joseph that I also had to learn, get hurt, and figure out what to do in my own life. You see, my life lesson according to Joseph is to learn how to let go. That is the truth spoken from someone who has observed his mother finding her way through life. 

An excerpt from Is It A God Thing:

As pointed out by my son, Joseph, one special day. I was in the midst of one of my tsunamis. I was just floating around in a pool at my parents' home. My son Joseph joined me. We were just visiting about everything. I asked my son “ What do you think about life lessons?” Do you think we all have our own special one?” He looked at me and answered profoundly as he often does. “Yes, I believe yours is letting go.” I just simply said, “I completely agree.” 

Joseph is known for his one liners that knock your socks off. He does not say a lot usually, but when he does answer you, it is honest and deeply profound. We continued floating around in the water and I just thought about how I could begin to let go...

Wow, that took me back a bit, but he was spot on. Yes, letting go of, well, you name it. People, places, ideas, moments that mean nothing. He nailed me in a way that spoke volumes to me. He answered with truth and absolutely no judgement. Just as Joseph would.