As many of you already know, I am a foster mom. And although we were not given any records with specific testing or IQ results, one of the boys is significantly lower cognitively than most others his age. We have had our hands full with him over the past few months because although he can verbalize comprehension about things, when it comes to transferring the skills into real-life practice, there is a break down. So we are pretty sure he understands things in the moment, but doesn’t process them at the correct time and place to be able to successfully employ them in his every day life.
Well, the other night we were watching television together and a commercial came on that touted something about …anything being possible. Yesterday, when we were driving back from an evaluation, he asked me if it were true…was anything really possible.
I began to answer quickly and then something stopped me in my tracks. I realized that I was about to impose my own set of beliefs on him. I was about to respond subjectively to a question that could impact the rest of his life very significantly.
I changed the course of my reply and did what any trained social worker does when they want to encourage more input from their client; I reworded the question and reflected it back onto him.
“What do you think about that,” I quipped. “Do you believe anything is possible?”
He said that he didn’t because if it were true, then his mother would change things about the way she lives, so she could get him back. But then he added that he wasn’t really sure she actually wanted to get him back.
When I was done gaping, totally shocked that this young man was much more aware of the situation he was in than any of us realized; I slowly began my reply to his original question.
I informed him that I was going to tell him what I believed and why. I wanted him to understand the difference between something I believed and fact. To the best of my knowledge, there is no fact to support that anything is possible. I explained that I believe it to be true, but there are just as many people who do not believe that it is true and that it was up to him to decide for himself.
I asked him if he could fly. He laughed and then quickly answered “of course not.”
“What if you had the money to buy a ticket for a plane trip to California,” I asked. “Then, would you fly?”
He looked confused.
“Man isn’t a bird and doesn’t have wings to fly,” I told him, “but because two brothers believed that it was possible a long time ago, they built a machine that had never been built before and invented something that helped man fly.”
We went on to talk about many things that have been created because someone believed strongly enough that it was possible, even when many other people didn’t.
He knew about man landing on the moon. I told him that President John Kennedy was one of the only people who believed America could be the first country to land a man on the moon and because he believed it was possible, he did what had to be done to make it happen.
I asked him if there was anything he wanted badly enough to keep trying for, even when it might look like it wasn’t possible. Gratefully, there were a few things we’ve been helping him work toward that mattered enough to him, to list.
Now, we have something to work toward. So today, when he gets home from summer school, he and I will begin writing out a few of his goals and putting together visual reminders that he can post around his room to keep his goals close at hand.
I’m not sure if it will work out completely for him, but for the first time in his life, he is learning to consider how possible positive outcomes can truly be!
I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!