Why I Shouldn’t Love That Dirty Water

Do you have the patience to wait

till your mud settles and the water is clear?

Can you remain unmoving

till the right action arises by itself?

–       Tao Te Ching, verse 15

Last week, our son B started speech therapy because at three years old, we have a hard time understanding him.  The fact that I have a child with any kind of issue in regards to speaking is a surprise to me because I will talk to a lamppost if I think it made eye contact.  He has only been to the speech therapist less than a handful of times and they are currently just evaluating him to see what issues he might have. They spoke to me about there being a possibility that his brain is working faster than his mouth muscles can form the words. Or perhaps he has an auditory processing disorder in which he thinks he is saying the word correctly but he actually is not.  In the meantime, they have explained to me an embarrassingly high number of times that they are still just in the evaluation stage and they will inform me of the diagnosis in a couple of weeks.

This does not please me, for issues which are all strictly my own. For one thing, I hate waiting. If the pediatrician or my kids’ teachers even mention something that could be wrong, I am reading articles, going to parenting classes, or even talking to friends to get help. This is agonizing not knowing what I could be doing to help B during this initial phase.

Another big problem: I am a profound worrier. If worrying was a sport in the Olympics, I wouldn’t even win a gold because my anxiety would paralyze me with fear during the qualifying round.  But the minute the phrase “auditory processing disorder” came up, I “googled” it and it was like a starter’s pistol going off in my head. The worrying jumped off the line and it sprinted.

Again, there is no diagnosis yet. Auditory processing disorder was merely brought up as something they are looking into. And of course during my fear-filled hour of Internet research, my husband- the voice of reason and calmness- was not home at the time to close my laptop.  When he did come home, I brought up my discoveries for the possible diagnosis with him.  I then compared the problems B would face with the problems that my husband faced before (and even after) he was diagnosed with dyslexia.

Mark said to me, “You know, I feel my dyslexia has been a blessing.”

Surprised by that response, I asked, “Don’t you wish you could read faster?” This is based on a conversation we had recently about our desire to read more when the kids are around but not being able to focus with the banshee screaming one of them will eventually emit.

“I think I read more than anyone.” Mark was right about this. Most of what he reads is web articles and white papers and I am positive he logs more hours reading a day than I do.  “I also think the dyslexia helps me solve problems at work because I can see things in a way others can’t.”  I guess I never thought of it that way and I felt a tinge of guilt that I couldn’t see past what I thought as a hinderance to learning and instead view it as a new way to think.

As I sat in the waiting area during B’s next speech therapy appointment, I was reading the book Man Seeks God: My Flirtation with the Divine by Eric Weiner. This book is a must have for anyone who likes their religion with a side of humor.  In one chapter, he is discussing Taoism and he briefly touched on that verse 15 that I put at the beginning of this post. Can I keep still while the speech therapists decide the best course of action for whatever my son’s diagnosis may be?  Can I stop the worrying, knowing that it just stirs up the mud with more fear? When the best course of treatment is finally decided on, can I be the unmoving source of strength so that B doesn’t look at this as a setback but as an advantage?

As parents, we know there will be obstacles in our kids’ lives.  Nobody escapes childhood without a few scars but how we as parents handle the rushing water of life is equally important.  If we can all achieve the ability to not muddy the water during every crisis-large and small- then I think the solutions will present themselves earlier and in much clearer ways.

I have decided not to “google” anything else in regards to B’s speech issues. But is it okay to search for “how to stop worrying”?


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