I was training a new person to help with Jaedon’s home program, and went into Jay’s play area about half hour before her scheduled arrival to listen to the best teacher of all. Jaedon and I had a great time playing with lotion. I would say he was moderately interactive, perhaps a 6, on a scale of 1-10. He practiced saying the word 'lotion', approximating it as 'who-shah'. The 'L' sound is challenging. I worked on NOT being on an agenda with him, just doing what he was interested in when he was being repetitive, being easy and helpful, and challenging him to say 'lotion' as often as he would allow. In that moment, it was just me and Jaedon, him doing whatever he wanted, me loving him. What a gift it is, to be with someone that way! No judgments, no agenda, just wanting to be there with him. It felt great, a wonderful loving thing to do.
So many volunteers in our program have struggled with building rapport with Jaedon this way. They may feel like it's a waste of time, or wonder if they will miss an opportunity to interact. Today, I found myself explaining it as 'being in the rhythm of someone's life'. Jaedon has a flow and music all his own. When I connect with him around whatever he’s absorbed in, it's like I get into that flow too, and we are like 2 buoys bobbing in the same wave of the sea, 2 migrating birds in flight.
The first step in building any relationship is to build rapport. What better way to do that than to be completely available to just ... be? In this comfortable place, with a beautiful connection being built, I will know the right time for another kind of interaction. Yes, I know the technical signs to look for because of all the trainings, workshops and conferences I’ve attended, but I don't mean that. I mean, I will know because it will just come to me, like a poem comes to a poet, like the solution to a problem comes in an "Aha" moment to a mathematician, like the location of a bug used to come to me when fixing computer programs (in a former life). I can trust that this knowing will come, so I can just let go and be with him.
The more I connect with Jaedon this way, the deeper the connection we experience, I find my demands of him diminishing. I don't need language, potty training, even appropriate behavior. We have a language of our own, and it has no words.
As I connect with Jaedon this way, I get a deep sense of what it must be like to give this gift to others in my life. How would my relationships with my husband, my other children change if I prioritized this way of being with them, prioritized loving above 'appropriate' behavior? How would your relationships change?