“You need to squeeze him. Make him a little uncomfortable.”
This is what one of Jack’s therapists told me during a session. We were discussing why he had plateaued and wasn’t saying new words.
It made sense. Why would he need to speak if all his needs were being met with a point or whine? He had no motivation to change or grow.
So we started squeezing. Instead of handing him a drink or snack, we began asking him to say the word. He wasn’t a fan of this new method. To be honest, neither was I. A lot of frustration. A lot of crying. And I’m not just talking about Jack.
But slowly…we began to see…the squeeze was causing change.
This quarantine has felt a lot like a squeeze, hasn’t it? The longer it lasts, the more discomfort we feel. The grip is tightening with every passing week. For some it is pushing up fear and anxiety, for others sadness and despair. If you’re a parent of young children like me, perhaps the combination of lockdown and homeschooling has you questioning if any fruits of the spirit are evident in your life.
What will we do with all this discomfort? Will we fight it, kicking and screaming? Will we give up and surrender to depression? Or will we grow?
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-4 The MSG
I’ll be as happy as everyone else when we can stop social distancing. When my kids can spend the night at grandma’s and I can shop at Target. But I don’t want to get out of this prematurely. Because when the Corona dust settles I want the lessons I’m learning to stick.
In the last nine months Jack started saying almost 100 new words. There are many reasons for this and I don’t want to discredit amazing therapists or the power of prayer. But I have to ask myself, “What if we didn’t squeeze?”
Accept the squeeze friends. The growth is worth the pain.