As my son Will has grown up, my focus has shifted from trying to “fix” him, to realizing he is just fine the way he is. And that perspective led me, my husband and Will’s younger brother to write the Zen of Will. It is our way of expressing what we enjoy about Will and what being in his presence has taught us. This perspective emphasizes Will’s gifts to us, and to anyone who is willing to learn from him.
Sit close when sharing a book, watching TV or taking a moment with someone you like.
Hug frequently and don't hold a grudge for more than 20 seconds.
Slow down—being in a hurry just makes everything worse.
Don't care too much what other people think. For instance, if you think it's okay to eat salad with your hands, then it is.
Eat all you want but stop when you are full. Enjoy what you eat. Say “Hmmmmm” when you enjoy something a lot.
Lighten up! Don't take things too seriously. Put a waste basket on your head or walk around indoors wearing a big floppy hat and sunglasses. It's okay to be silly. Use funny voices, read rhymes out loud. Look for things to laugh about, like when someone drops something, when you go over speed bumps or make sharp turns in the road, when waves rock your inner tube or the monster jumps out in a horror movie, or when you spill your milk. (When that happens, be sure to say, “Oops!”)
Listen to the tone in peoples’ voices when they speak. That will help you know when they are happy or sad. Notice what's really going on, not just the words people use.
Walk away from people when they get too loud.
When someone says "ice cream,” say, “Yes!”
When you hear music with a beat, start moving!
Live in the here and now.
Don't be materialistic. The only thing that really matters is the people in your life.
Our behavior can communicate as much or more than our words.
Contributed by Rosemary Alexander, PhD, Texas Parent to Parent (www.txp2p.org)