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Loving the Flaws in Ourselves and Our Children

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

― Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

I recently read two books by Brene’ Brown, one called Daring Greatly and the other Rising Strong. I was appreciative of her message that encourages the reader to look at vulnerability and the capacity to show our weaknesses and imperfections. She also states that wholeheartedness is about living from a deep sense of worthiness. A person who is comfortable with being flawed understands that is living in truth. As I read these books, I couldn’t help but think about my brother, David, who completely embodies this concept of living in truth and owning one’s flaws. I love him for that and I strive to live in that light. My next thought was “how can I take this information and use it in my occupational therapy with children and my training to those who work with children”? How can I be a person making “assessments” and giving “evaluations”, and still keep hold of the ideals Brown holds so strongly? Is it my goal to remove those flaws to make children less unique? How can I help a child progress while holding tightly to their unique values? Will I still be able to measure that progress on a developmental chart if I allow a child to be exactly who they are? I also had many questions after reading Brown’s books, about my care of the parents of the children I serve. Many parents I work with have different types of personalities and preferences of care. Some parents desire to assess each and every difference in their child, in hopes that I can help with the “delays”. While, other parents want to allow their child the room to be unique and just want me to assist in the main challenges that get in the way of their child’s learning. All the while, I’m trying to keep my own values out of the equation. It is a challenging process, but one I must keep wrestling with, to ensure I stay true to my own ethics of my heart and, at the same time, assist children and families. It’s amazing how really good books will make you want to seek answers, even though more questions seem to rear their heads. Yet, I know as I gain more years of experience, and as I change and shift as a person, I must ponder these questions when they arrive. They help me stay humble and vulnerable. These personality traits enable me to work with children and see their wisdom and imperfections all with one open heart. For that, I’m delighted! What are the books you’ve read that have made you ponder life and how you approach your work and others? Please share them with me in my comment section.

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