Sabado, Hunyo 4, 2011

Special Parenting

Photo by Paulo Canivel

Parenting a child with special needs is a God-given privilege.
Our children are created by our Heavenly Father,
in His image. They are precious individuals placed in our

I am the mother of three grown-up children, with
Clarissa, our youngest, already in her twenties. Ironically, it
was only in 2004 that I learned what I believe is the true
meaning of parenting. In a parenting seminar led by Pastor
Peter Tan-Chi and his wife Deonna, I learned the important
lessons that helped me gain a better overview of what
parenting is all about.

How sad that there are so few subjects or courses in
schools about parenting. We normally rear our children based
on how our parents reared us. This means we also acquire
their mistakes. Our first tendency is to try to meet other
parents of children who have special needs. Often, they too
have little idea as to what and how we should teach these
needy young ones.

Photo by Paulo Canivel
Attending the parenting seminar in our church was a great help for me because it taught me how to raise my children in a biblical way. Although I thought it was too late for me, in some ways, for my children were all grown up, it turned out that with God, nothing is too late. His timing is always perfect.

Psalm 127:3 tells us that “Children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.”

When Clarissa was born, I had to release her to God’s hands. I wept over her numerous times, for I realized that our lives would never be the same. I also realized that I was not equipped to raise a special
child. I was at a loss — how could I help my daughter
when I didn’t even understand what Down syndrome was?

Photo by Paulo Canivel
Instead of seeking answers from the Maker of my child,
I skipped that part and jumped directly to how I could help
her in terms of her physical, educational and medical needs.
I was not the overly spiritual type of person and at that time,
when Clarissa was a new infant, I had very little knowledge
of who God really was.

What does God want us to know about our child? Our
child has special needs. She was uniquely designed by
God, so we are not to compare her with our other children.
Her mental, intellectual and physical abilities will never be
the same as those of our regular kids. But God created them
“just so” for a special reason. He created all children for His
pleasure and they are designed to worship Him. Ultimately,
it is our role to teach our child how to have a personal relationship
with the Lord. We must teach them to know God
and fear Him.

God says it is the duty of the parents to teach
and train their children. In Proverbs 22:6 God clearly states
that we are to “Train a child in the way he should go, and
when he is old, he will not turn from it.”

Photo by Paulo Canivel
Some parents may think that because a child is mentally
handicapped, their child will never understand who God is
or learn how to worship Him. Most of the time, teaching
our child about God is an aspect of child-rearing that we
leave out or take for granted.

I assumed that, because of Clarissa’s mental disability,
she would not understand who God is. But when I started
to teach her how to pray and let her listen to praise songs (at
maximum volume), I realized that she does have a heart for
God. She would dance to the music and raise her hands to
Him. Clarissa is one young adult who has no hang-ups or
embarrassment in worshipping the Lord. I have no doubt
that she loves God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength.
Praying and worshipping is her lifestyle. She is my prayer
partner and she doesn’t mind when we pray all the time.

*Excerpts from "Embracing God's Purpose For My Special Child"

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