The Gifts In The Challenges… Lessons From My Son Jacko

Hi friends, Julie Cross here. Just wanted to share with you a little story about Jack. And I guess it’s relevant to resilience, it’s relevant to being aware of the conversations that we have with our children and how they may affect them and what they see and are feeling from us and how that affects the way that they move through the world.

And as many of you know, don’t think for a minute that I’m perfect with this. You know, my good parenting moments look great, My bad parenting moments don’t look good at all. And I’m sure my sons would love to come and do a bit of video for you pointing out a few of them. So I’m not saying I’ve got it together and this is just an observation and you know me; I share my observations and maybe people find it helpful. But Jack and I did an assignment in year 12, and it was all about his personal development assignment, really. And no, I didn’t help him with his homework, that was his job to do that.

But he, a question was asked, would you change anything about your life? And is there anything that you would like to have happened differently? Now keep in mind what Jack had been through, his father had a stroke, then his brother was diagnosed with autism. Home was just loud with autism and then Flash passed away four years later. So he had a pretty big journey.

So would he like to change anything was the question, and his answer was no. Because everything I went through has made me be who I am today. And so I’m not saying that he didn’t come up with that himself, and I’m not saying that he didn’t feel that himself, and that it was his own doing and his own wisdom. But I am saying that the conversations we had may have influenced that, because I do recall Jack saying one Father’s Day, how much he hated Father’s Day. And how sad it made him feel. And he just hated it and didn’t want to know about it.

And so I remember having a conversation with him and saying to him that he had every right to feel sad and to feel a bit ripped off. And that he should feel safe in feeling like that. And it wasn’t wrong to feel like that. But then I also reminded him of the kind of dad he had, and the sort of dad that Flash was to him, and how he was so active in spending time with Jack and would read him stories and play footie with him. Because the other thing is that Jack’s conscious memory of his dad, most of it was after his stroke and not before his stroke, when Flash, that was the man I married and with the kind of dad he was.

So we had lots of conversations about that and how even though he had his dad for a short time, his dad was very much in his life, and a wonderful dad while he was here. So we talked a bit about that and about how much he influenced his life in the short time that he was here, and that Jack was growing into the sort of man that he had because of some of those gifts that dad had given him.

So you wonder if that’s not where some of that wisdom comes from. Because I could have had the tact of yeah, you’ve got every right to feel ripped off and it’s not fair that our family got to go through this and life’s shitty. I could have gone that way. But I think we need to have empowering conversations with our children, and allow ourselves our down times, and know that that’s normal and that’s okay. Then invite them to hop back up through it, because it is what it is, so let’s make the best of this.

And then the next question he was asked on this assignment was who’s had one of the biggest influences of your life? And he talked about his dad again. So here he is, he’s had his dad in his life for such a short time and yet to this day he’s having a major influence in Jack’s life, even though he’s not physically here anymore. So the time that he spent with him formed a great foundation. And so there was messages in that too, and I learned something from that.

Let us make sure we’re having empowering conversations with our children. And when they’re faced with challenging times, let’s make sure that we’re believing in them, giving them the time to feel sorry for themselves, to have their moment of feeling sad, but then empowering them up with the conversation of knowing that we’ve got this. And let’s look at what we can get out it. And how we can grow through it, and the gifts in these moments as well. Because they will refer back to them in their heads at some point in their lives.

So that was a really gift for me, to hear Jack say that, and to feel like he was gonna be all right. Okay, thanks.

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