I’m 57, and I aspire to be more like my son Dan (18, autism).
Over the years, I have remarked frequently on how long it took hubby Jim and I to teach him step-by-baby-step how to tie shoes, brush teeth, shower independently, shave and do his own laundry, etc. But once he got it, he had it. Most often, we had to begin by telling him 4 months in advance of when we were going to start something. “Dan, in 4 months, on your 18th birthday, you are going to start shaving every day like a man. Daddy has to do it every day, and so will you.” “Dan, what are you going to every day starting on your 18th birthday?” “Dan, tomorrow’s your birthday, what are you going to start doing every day?” By then he had heard it so many times, he was resigned to it. And we never had to say another word about it except “you missed a spot.”
But I hadn’t realized how entrenched he was about this until recently when he got all 4 wisdom teeth extracted (general anesthesia of course), and he got up the next morning and shaved! Because that’s what you do. That’s what you’re supposed to do.
He is not plagued, like I am, by whether or not he feels like doing something. He does what he does because. Because you do what you’re supposed to do. I’ve decided this is something he could teach me – that being like him in this way could improve my life and my character. I’ve been asking myself, particularly when faced with the option of doing a chore I don’t feel like doing:
What Would Dan Do?
Now, right now, I’m not doing it, because it is 10:24 PM, and if I was doing what Dan does, I would have been in bed at 10 :-) But a couple of nights ago when I was really tired and didn’t feel like taking 2 lousy minutes to brush my teeth before bed, I asked myself the WWDD question, and I brushed them anyway. Last night there were dishes in the sink and it was late. And I wondered: if it was Dan’s job to do the dishes before bed, would he let them sit there? No he wouldn’t. He would wash them, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Tonight I was tempted to leave folded laundry on top of the dryer and take care of it tomorrow. Dan doesn’t do that with his laundry. He takes care of it right away. So now you are on to me that I am a closet slug!
But the point is, I’m thinking about him, and what he is like, and what I admire about him, and trying to be like him.
And that’s a good thing.
~ Danz mom, Peggy