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When Small Things Become Big Problems

Sometimes my sons bring up complicated topics when I am getting ready to head off to bed. Such was the case recently as one of my sons and I were talking about scenarios in specific social situations when a small thing becomes a big problem.

At certain times, I find it easier to explain complicated topics by drawing a picture. Especially after 9:00 pm when my mental stamina is barely functional. So, I grabbed a sheet of white paper and a pen and met my son at the table.

In all honesty, I had no idea how to begin explaining what was forming in my mind. I drew a small circle and a big circle.

What transpired in the next fifteen minutes was phenomenal.

I began to explain how we make small things into something more as I added a concentric circle around the small circle. We talked about what this next circle might represent–emotions such as agitation, sadness, anger, and bitterness–because we don’t talk about the concern with the person(s) involved. Then, another circle forms. This might include talking about it with others in an unhealthy way. In other words, gossip. Then another circle forms that could lead to no good form of communication. The last circle represents hurting rather than helping to solve the original issue.

That’s when my son said, “It’s a target.”

“You’re right,” I said.

“Like when you shoot a bow and arrow. The arrow hits the target.” He paused. “And it hurts.”

His insight wowed me. When we fail to communicate about a small issue, we create a target or we become one. The results are painful.

We moved on to talk about the big circle. Again, I wasn’t sure how to explain the picture forming in my mind. I drew two diagonal lines from the center of the circle, similar to a pie slice.

“How do we handle a big problem?” I asked.

From there we created other pie slices and labeled them with phrases like “calm down,” “talk with…” specific trusted person(s) and support people, “accept what we can’t change,” “learn new skills,” and “PRAY. Talk to God. Have faith.”

I had a picture in my head of what this circle represented for me, but I asked my son, “What does this circle look like?”

“A parachute.”

Again I was wowed. I had envisioned a wheel moving forward and going backwards to adjust moving forward again or turning a corner. Yet, wheels get stuck and tend to spin making a deeper hole. So, I loved my son’s visual perspective! He went on to explain how he learned about seeing a parachute for communicating with others during one of his social communications classes. We went on to talk about letting go of the problem, but holding on to what and who can help us relax–even enjoy the ride–and safely “land” in the end.

What wowed me most was that this conversation was with my son who has Autism Spectrum Disorder.

I ended my day grateful to know that this young man understands what so many fail to comprehend. I am blessed by the wow that he is one of those pieces of my own parachute.

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