Thursday, November 10, 2016

Team Player

"Thanks for being a team player."

I replied with "You're welcome" but inside I was thinking, "How could I not be?"

This compliment always boggles my mind because usually I'm just doing what comes naturally to me. Being a team player means being humble and kind and forgiving the mistakes of others and of yourself.  It means putting yourself aside for the good of the team, to meet a common goal.

I forget that some people don't care about the people around them.  That they are just out for themselves.  I am naive in that way, I think that everyone sees things the same way I do.  When I am reminded that they don't, I always wonder "why?"

In Ephesians, Paul reminds us that we are on a team with other believers.  He was urging the church as Ephesus to treat each other with love and respect.  He was reminding them to be team players.

One of the many reasons that I love that older boys play sports is that they learn to be a team player.  They learn to put the needs of the team in front of their own.

I must admit that this is harder for B because he hasn't had the context of sports to help him understand.  We have to be very clear and direct to teach him to think of others first.  For example, when he has a friend over we remind him that his friend is our guest so he needs to ask what the friend wants to do instead of just doing his own thing.

Since his default is to play near his friends instead of with them, we have to be more intentional about giving him the words to use when with his friends.  Recess can be a hard time for him.  He's not real physical. He wants to use the time to draw and then show off his drawings to the other kids.  We have to tell him "When a friend wants to play, don't just say no.  You can say "give me 5 minutes to draw then I'll play with you.""  These scripts seem to be helpful to him.

But still I worry.  Part of being a team player is recognizing the need of another person and filling it.  Autism makes it difficult for him to recognize the need.  It's as if some of the social parts of his brain are turned off.

I don't know how many times we've told B "autism makes you AUsome!" I want him to be proud of how God made him.  I recognize that we have to directly teach some of those social skills that the older boys just seemed to get.  It's a small price to pay for his wonderful mind and unique personality.

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