I had one of those heart sinking into my stomach moments today. The speech therapist that The Hurricane is working with had given me my copy of his official evaluation. Full of professional jargon and percentile numbers, it also gives him a label. What is it about us as humans that both loves and loathes labels? We long to be able to put a name to something and to classify things, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in loathing the fact that my son has been diagnosed with ‘something’, he now has a label for his condition. I’m not sure why I struggle with that so much. Is it because we all want our children to be ‘normal’, whatever normal is. Or is it because I hate that this is part of his journey, something he has to go through.
So anyway, after driving home and sneaking peeks at the report at red lights……..and feeling more and more discouraged by the whole thing, I remembered a conversation I once had with my dear friend Rachel. I’m not sure how we got onto the topic, but we were talking about labels and the dangers they hold – both in the natural world and the spiritual world. How we as parents know our children best, and why should we put up with the holds over them that various labels can place on them. Rachel told me how once she and her husband threw out a school report for one of their children because something in it was just plain not right. They wouldn’t stand for it being in their home when they knew it was just not right.
Remembering this conversation did something inside of me today. It made my Spirit rise up and want to fight. Yes it is good to have a diagnosis for various things. Yes it is a good thing to know exactly what you’re dealing with in the natural world. But we cannot let it define us and our children. We cannot let it limit what God is perfectly able to do in and through us and our children.
There is so much power in the spoken word. In labels placed on us. We can let it crush us or empower us.
A friend of mine has had a worrisome ultrasound scan of her third child. Some professionals have let it limit their view of her situation. They have given the baby a label and painted worst case scenarios for my friend. But my friend is not letting this labelling limit and define the power of our God. She is choosing to believe a better way – she is choosing to believe in a God who heals and makes whole – who is completely in charge of her situation.
I believe labels are there to help us, to guide us, and to educate us. But not to restrict us. My husband and I have a responsibility to our children to not let them be bogged down by words that could harm or restrict them. Part of my job description is to be the Grizzly Bear and to protect my boys from badly thought out words and opinions and destructive ways. If that means I need to brush away labels that others would put on them, as I brush away the dust from my house, then so be it.
Yes we need to be sensible and not live with rose-tinted glasses – we need to be honest and deal with our kids problems and faults for sure – but we as parents know when some words are not right about our children. We know our kids best. Yes my son has been labelled with a certain speech disorder – but that doesn’t mean it is going to define him for the rest of his childhood or life.