This article was originally published on the College Park Patch as part of the weekly column by Gretchen Schock,Parenting on a Tightrope.
(My sister has one of the best smiles when she laughs, I don't tell her that enough.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Everyone woke up in a happy mood, got dressed and brushed their teeth without one gripe or grumble.
We left the house for church on time instead of our usual rush. As we walked to the car, L grabbed my hand and looked up at me as if it was the first time he’d seen me … really seen me that morning.
He looked me directly in the eye and said, “Mommy, I like your clothes and necklace.”
My mouth dropped open. Giving another person a compliment — unprompted — has been one of L’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals for the past two years.
Making eye contact and noticing something about another person is a huge milestone for a child on the Autism Spectrum. I wished I could freeze frame this moment and replay it for the entire IEP team, which consists of his special education teacher, occupation therapist, speech therapist, general education teacher, school psychologist, school counselor and the four other random people who sit in on every IEP meeting.
I promptly thanked him, and he gave me that huge smile that makes his eyes twinkle.
During church I tried to pay attention to the minister, but all I thought about was L’s compliment and how far he has come in his development. And the more I thought about it, I realized that maybe our entire family needs to work on this goal of giving another person a compliment, unprompted.
Couldn’t the world use more compliments? What if everyday we said something nice to another human being?
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