Growing means…

How often does being challenged lead us to evolve?

I don’t know about you, but, over my lifetime, I have grown the most when I have been presented with challenges. Whether in my professional or personal life, challenges have, in large part, led me to evolve to places I hadn’t necessarily targeted. Sometimes those challenges grew from inside of me, but often they were in some way deposited at my door, or entered my consciousness through the course of living and interacting with others. Now, understand that I did not ask for many (most) of these challenges, and, in fact, many of them have been difficult and often painful. But if I could, would I choose to go around rather than through them? Maybe if you asked me on a hard day, but overall, looking back on the vast majority of those challenges, I am appreciative of what I have learned about myself and this world. In part, because I didn’t have to meet them alone. I had many in my circle who supported me, held me up, provided constructive comments, listened to me, and scaffolded my growth. And did much more.

As we evolve, we often change our mind – based on new information and new ways of seeing ourselves and the world, we realize that we aren’t where (or who) we were previously. And we accommodate to that. Yes, those of you who have read my blogs remember that changing one’s mind is a mental state verb! How important are MSV to our goal setting, our maturation, our evolution? (You can probably guess what my opinion is!)

What is the value of challenges for those with whom we work? Being challenged is another part of our humanity. Everyone has the right to evolve over the span of their lifetime. Where we are as individuals and what we think we want in our teens is often different from what we want in our 20’s or 40’s or 70’s.

So, how can we learn to challenge our students in kind and appropriate ways? And how do we know when a good time is to do that? How can we collaborate with students in this process? And others who are involved – families, teachers, therapists, employers, etc.? In ways that have a high likelihood of supporting continued growth as they evolve as themselves. In ways that are respectful of their neuro-uniqueness, yet pointing them perhaps to a broader way of seeing their self and their life. How can we challenge our students to think into the future, and to understand, in whatever way works for them, what it means to plan, to decide, to dream? Lots of questions – love to hear your comments, so email me!

Watch for the second September blog, when I talk about my MSV journey with an Autistic young adult with whom I’ve worked for many years, and for MSV were transformative.

Happy 2022-23 school year to all!

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