Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all
And sweetest is the gale is heard; and sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm...
~Emily Dickinson

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The power of paper.

Kannon had a victory in the past few months.
He underwent his series of tri-annual testing through the school district and last week we sat down with his Educational team and discussed the results.

I want to first address the power, or supposed power of a piece of paper…and what is written on that paper.
Whether it be a study, results of test, a letter, a bill, etc…it is all just words.
No matter what people may think are behind those concrete words, they are just that.
Just as I write, people can dismiss what they read immediately without any thought and move on.
Or they can take what they read to heart and believe what they read is truth.

It is tough to see your child "on paper".
His supposed intelligence, his years of hard work in black and white.
I have found through my personal experience with "papers" that at the end of the day it doesn't mean a damn thing.
It doesn't give an accurate assessment of either parties involved and it never really says what it is trying to.
There is always more.

Kannon is so much more than what those papers said of him.
He is much more beautiful, intelligent, focused, and present.
He is not what they perceived him to be, no matter what tests were given.

I used to put a lot of power in the paper…
Now I know better.
I know that the real truth lies in actions, everyday life, and honest assessments that one goes through daily both with themselves and those involved in their life.
I have seen too many times when words on paper affected people when in truth there is no validity to the content.
No one likes to feel inferior or judged, especially when it is so easily done through words on paper.

As a parent sometimes paper is all we have to judge where our child is at compared to their peer group.
I get a pile of papers each week sent home to me for both my kids. I find myself most of the time throwing out most of it.
Paper has lost its power.

As I said in the beginning though…a victory for Kannon!
3 years ago he could not even test. He was unable to sit still, answer any questions or understand what they were even wanting out of him. His numbers "on paper" were catastrophic.
0.01% was a common number I saw in relation to his percentile scoring…
"Well below average"…"Severely low"…all common words I saw over and over again.
In fact in those papers was even notes about how "his mother was in tears" due to the hours of frustrating tests without any positive outcome(s).
Awesome. I made the papers too ;)

But this time, this time around he was not only able to be tested, but he got through all the tests!
He was able to sit still for the hour and a half 3 times a week for months and be asked all these questions without falling to pieces or crying out of frustration.
He did it.
The real victory is that he was able to test, not what the results were…
He was able to sit through the questions and pictures and charts. He tried his hardest and did what he could with all the standardized BS that these tests run him through.

I couldn't be prouder.
He withstood the time, the pressure, and the frustration and was able to overcome in my opinion whatever was on that piece of paper.
Whatever outcome or result that was written on those papers didn't matter at all.
I have become tired of reading papers on Kannon about how "behind" or "below average" he is...

The years of sacrifice, hard work, and grit have outweighed any words or numbers.

His teacher came up to me after our meeting and told me what an honor it's been to work with Kannon. She said what a joy it is to see him every day and to see all he has overcome.
She said that kids ask about him all the time when he's absent, wanting to know if he's ok and when he will be back. He even has a group of boys from his mainstream class that play basketball with him at recess every day now…he told me he has friends he plays with now. He has friends :)
She also said that there are few people she has come across in her life that make her want to be a better person…and that Kannon was one of those people. That she can't help but want to be better and work harder because of him.

Great job buddy.
Not only did you overcome adversity, tests, perceived realities and stereotypes, you came blazing through that finish line shining brighter than anyone could ever write about on paper.
You even managed to inspire those around you. People who were there to help you came out learning from you.

My heart is full of pride.
Maybe I helped you out a bit in all of this, I don't know.
I don't care.
All I care about is you overcoming that stupid piece of paper.
I hope more people will learn that anything that is written about them is pure speculation.
Truth or not, don't let it define you or affect your truth.

If you know yourself, really know yourself, not what others think they know about you or write about you…none of that matters in the scheme of your life path. Words or numbers should not break ones heart or spirit…ever.
What matters is results, and the majority of opinions and truths around your everyday life.

Kannon continues to overcome and inspire me with his actions and his sense of self.
He could never be swayed to believe he is anything other than what he knows he is. He draws it out every day, ironically on paper.
Castles, happy every afters, smiles, sunshine, people holding hands, friends, kind words...

His truth.