Homecan do“Can Do” Versus “Want To”

“Why,” you might ask, “are you showing you a picture of rocks and trees?”

Good question! This is a small part of the Lake Superior Trail up at Tettegouche State Park in northern Minnesota. I’m not entirely sure of if this is the exact rock pile of rocks and trees that we clambered up, but if it’s not, it’s a lot like the one we did.

Throughout the trip, my husband continuously spurred me on by saying, “See? I knew you could do it!”

To which I’d reply, “Yeah, I knew I could do it. I just didn’t WANT to do it.”

What can I say? I’m a ray of sunshine when I have to be active when feeling sick.

On the second day, we visited the stunning waterfalls of the area. I was in quite a bit of pain, and my weak left ankle gave out a couple of times (though there were no disconcerting crunches this time). By the time we hit the pictured falls, I knew I couldn’t climb their side to see the upper basin without hurting myself badly. So, I sat down, took a picture and watched my husband go for it.

Thankfully, we both got through the trip unscathed, outside of a few more bug bites, sore muscles, blisters and aching feet. Had I been feeling better, and if the weather had cooperated that last night, the trip would have been much better.

Looking back, “can I do it” versus “do I want to do it” was the general theme of the entire trip. Even though I didn’t necessarily want to scale rocks, cross old beaver dams or wade through waist high foliage, I knew I could, so I did.

So, why am I writing about this here? What does it have to do with neurodiversity and education?

These concepts are intimately entwined with learning and school. Too often, I’ve seen kids deemed as “special needs” slip through the proverbial cracks due to harmful attitudes.

Too many bright, creative and caring people aren’t given the chance to reach their personal potentials, because they’re told they can’t do it. Other times, they’re given tasks or put in an environment that sets them up for failure, and are then told they didn’t want success enough. Both scenarios are poison to already fragile self esteems.

Of course, some people will always need more support than others, and that’s alright. Even if someone needs help with every day life tasks, that doesn’t mean they don’t have thoughts, aspirations and dreams of their own.

I guess it all comes down to understanding how other people operate, or at least attempting to do so. We’re all different, and while that can cause frustration, it’s still a great thing.

After all, what would the world be like if it were peopled by clones? I think it’d be an oddly terrifying, yet boring, place to live.

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