A Living Amends & the Ripple Effect

Last night I was on Marc Rosen, Nick Hale and James P. Wagner’s blog talk radio show Human Potential.  You can listen to the show by clicking on the link provided.  The show focused on “The Importance of Allies.”  I was really honored to have been asked on the show, particularly given my past and the things I once believed about autism and my daughter.  I certainly did not begin this journey as an ally and so I am filled with a great deal of gratitude when told there are those who think of me as one now.

One of the things I forgot to mention last night as we talked, was this idea I’ve had ever since that day when I found Julia Bascom’s blog, Just Stimming, and specifically her post “The Obsessive Joy of Autism.”  It’s an idea I’ve tried hard to put into practice these past few years. The idea is that because I made so many really awful decisions about my daughter, I needed to make a “living amends” to her.

The idea of a living amends is that as long as I am alive the only true amends I can make that will have any lasting impact, that has any chance at countering at least some of the bad choices I made, is to do everything in my power now to live my life differently.  A living amends is different from an apology no matter how heartfelt that apology may be.  It is an ongoing commitment to change, to be open, to be willing, to have humility, to learn, and to behave differently as a result of this new-found awareness and commitment.  This is what I promised myself and my daughter just over two years ago when Julia’s blog opened my eyes to a different way of viewing my daughter’s neurology.

Since then I’ve had time to contemplate all of this and believe my role as Emma’s parent is to support her, encourage her, cheer her on and do everything in my power to make sure she feels empowered and supported to be all that she can be.  I do not ever want either of my children to be who they think I want them to be, or who anyone wants them to be, for that matter.  My job is to help them figure out who they want to be and then give them the support to help them be that person.

It is also this thinking that continues to drive me to do all I can to change how the world views autism.  I don’t mean that to sound as egotistical as some might take it. I do not expect, nor do I believe I have the power to change the world’s view, but I do believe each one of us can and does make change happen one person at a time.  There is a ripple effect that then occurs and that ripple effect repeated many times over does have the power to change what no single one of us can.  There is a saying – together we can do what neither one of us can do alone.  Or as Helen Keller is quoted as saying, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

Julia Bascom’s blog is a perfect example of this.  How many, like me, were radically changed as a result of her words?  How many people then took her words and began to live their life differently?  How many then altered the lives of their children because they now presumed them competent?  How many?  I’m guessing the answer is more than just a few…  that’s the ripple effect in action!

Em & Ariane on New Year's Eve ~ 2013

Em & Ariane on New Year’s Eve ~ 2013

18 responses to “A Living Amends & the Ripple Effect

  1. I listened in last night and found the whole program really insightful. I could hear you and Nick best of those who participated. I totally agree with the ripple effect. It reaches shore you never even dreamed of.
    Granma Paula

    • When I called in for the sound check they told me you were listening! So glad you were able to. I had a difficult time hearing as well.
      With love to you for starting the ripple effect that allowed me to continue it…

  2. A wonderful post and a wonderful interview as well! ♥

  3. Reblogged this on Spectrum Perspectives and commented:
    A great attitude for any parent; and an inspiration to do one little thing that reaches out to make a difference for someone. “each one of us can and does make change happen one person at a time.”

  4. Love the one person at a time mind set. That is always what I am thinking.

  5. Ariane, you are the ripple that reached me and has changed my way of thinking. I thank you for that.

  6. well my dear az i loved your on air grace. i now follow julia’s blog. how have i missed that jewel? the loud hands video made ss cry. it made me clap. what fun. thanks. allies b

  7. You’re making a big ripple. I love being a frog on the lily pad of this wonderful pond.

    • Aw… you’re making some ripples of you own… It’s not easy being green… 🙂

      • Thanks to Richard, I started following your blog, Ariane. He’s right…you’re making a big ripple! I share quite a few of your posts myself as I have a couple of friends with children on the spectrum. I’ve noticed, however, it’s not only those couple who have been reading your posts when I share them, but also others! This absolutely thrills me!! Thank you and Emma for helping to change perceptions about autism!! ❤

  8. Beautiful revelation 🙂

  9. I think all “special needs” parents needs to make a living amends because they start out thinking that their children are broken in some way only to realize years later that they were made perfectly.

  10. Just listened to the broadcast. Took a while to set aside the time.
    Beyond the tears on listening, I found myself constantly reaching for the metaperspective to what each of you were saying and doing; so the personally-witnessed topography of this other universe you mentioned early in the broadcast. So something like data-mining of the autistic, each of you throwing up rich piles of that data, data available for others to make use of. Each of you modelling what it takes to get to such authentic data. Inspiring. Enlightening. Community serving and creating.
    Liked the music at the end.

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