A Father’s Promise: Courage to Connect

I didn’t know what to do.

I have worked with kids in some capacity since I was 16 years old.  I could connect with children in the classroom, on the field, and in the gym.  But there I was trying to wash him in the bathtub, an arms length away from our blue-eyed little boy, feeling a million miles apart.

I didn’t know what to do.  And it hurt.

It was the first time that I had raised my voice to this little red headed “mini-me.”  We both had a range of emotions running through us.  Frustration.  Anger.  Sadness. Disappointment.  I couldn’t comfort him.  I couldn’t calm him.  He could’t put the words to how he felt.  And to make it worse, we were 500 miles from home.

I didn’t know what to do.  And it hurt.  And I think I scared him.

I am sure the whole street may have heard us.  By the time Emily came rushing in, she could tell how upset I was at myself and at the situation.  Why was he so upset over a simple bedtime routine? Why was he feeling this way?  What could I do better to help him from responding this way to us?  I desired the opportunity to wrap my arms around him and tell him it would be OK and we loved him.  I wanted to wash away his upset and let it drip down the drain.  But I couldn’t.

Some of the answers to these questions we have discovered and lived in to.  Some we feel we have a grasp on one day, and then lose the next.  Still others sometimes feel like an incredible master lock that we wonder if we will ever crack the code.

All I know is this.  I love this little boy.  He is my super hero.  He has made me a better person each and every day I have been around him.  Despite the meltdowns, the days we feel we are speaking different languages, or the times he lashes out, I would choose him in 100 lifetimes, in 100 worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find him and choose him.

Without a doubt.

I made one promise to our son after this experience.  He would never walk alone.  We would pursue growth.  Together.  We would learn and flourish.  Together.  Side by side.

Have you ever felt this way with your child?  When you can’t figure it out. When talking makes it worse.  When you think a hug may make it better, but it over stimulates your child even more.

Trust me, we get it.  We have been there.  At Courage to Connect CLE, we started out wanting to give our son every possible tool in his toolkit that would help him navigate through the wide ranging life experiences that he may come across, and now we’ve realized that other people are looking for those same tools. So our mission is to encourage, enlighten, and educate others about neurodiversity and sensory processing through family-based integrated activities.


Learn more. Sign up for the Courage to Connect newsletter and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to the Avon Lakes Parks & Recreation Department where classes are held. Courage to Connect has also partnered with Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Orchestra, Lorain County Metroparks, Village Project and Youth Challenge for events and sensory processing awareness.
Volunteer. Want to help with upcoming events and activities or offer your professional services and non-profit expertise to this up-and-coming #GoodCauseCLE? Comment below or contact them directly.
Spread the word. Visit Courage to Connect on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag someone you know who might benefit from knowing more about their work.
Donate. Dan and Emily can always use gift cards to Amazon, Pat Catan’s, and Michaels for materials for their events and projects. Contact them directly to arrange.

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