There, I saw another father of one of my children’s classmates and he was with his son, Nick. Although Nick was now a teenager, he rode in the cart like a young child. Nick has multiple handicaps. Among other disabilities, he has a prosthetic leg and is wheelchair bound; he must be fed through a feeding tube, and is unable to speak. Making the situation even more heartbreaking, Nick’s mother had recently died from brain cancer, leaving behind not only Nick—but four other minor children.
But to my astonishment, both Nick and his father were smiling. I did not intrude upon them but was mesmerized by the happy scene. It had begun to rain and Nick’s dad told him that they were going to make a run for it. Nick seemed excited by the prospect and the two seemed liked co-conspirators, planning a thrilling get-away. As the heaven’s released the sudden downpour, Nick’s dad began running- and pushing the cart toward their car. Just as suddenly, I felt the rain wash away any traces of discontentment. It was replaced by the sound of Nick and his father’s laughter, which still rang in my ears.
Unbeknownst to them, Nick and his father taught me an important lesson. And it’s one that I vowed to remember. There will always be people experiencing more difficulties than me, and those with less. I remembered the adage, “to everyone’s life some rain will fall.” Some people only have to face an occasional rainstorm. Others face hurricanes that rock the foundation of their lives. Even then, Nick and his father showed me that there are moments of grace to be found.
Kids Do it Too
Once they enter school, children invariably begin comparing themselves to the other children in their class. Unfortunately, children who are atypical learners are at risk of developing self-esteem issues as they begin comparing themselves to traditional learners who easily breeze through school. Many adults decided they weren’t as smart as others when they began comparing themselves to their classmates in elementary school. And these faulty conclusions can stick with us, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy!
Help your child to discover his or her unique learning style. For instance, if your child learns best by listening to material, you can acquire books on tape. And in addition to academics, encourage your child to discover and develop his or her unique interests and aptitudes, turning them into enjoyable pastimes and hobbies.
Finally, avoid any temptation to compare your children. Instead, treat them like the unique individuals that they are.
April Dream Starter: The Crystal Mountains
Dream Starters are visualizations which promote relaxation, imagination and well-being as they guide children into the world of dreams.
You can find more story visualizations about Dream Land, where children manifest whatever they desire, in The Floppy Sleep Game Book. Or visit Patti’s new site, Timeoutfordreamers.com for recordings that you can download.
To prepare for these dream starters, (or visualizations), create a quiet comfortable atmosphere in which your child can relax.
The Crystal Mountains
Good evening Dreamers. Tonight when you arrive in Dream Land, you discover that there is a large, colorful carousel right next to the Dream Academy. You walk over to it, joining the Dream Maker and a small group of pajama-clad children who have already gathered there.
Suddenly, the carousel lights up and the organ music begins to play. “Come on,” beckons the Dream Maker, motioning toward the carousel. You and the other dreamers eagerly step onto the carousel; and each of you begins looking for your own special horse to ride. There are white horses with brown and black tails, and brown horses with white tails. Some saddles are red while others are blue or yellow. You find the perfect horse. (Pause) Is it your imagination, or did he just smile at you? (Pause) Put one of your feet in the horse’s stirrup, grab hold of the saddle, pull yourself up and swing your other leg over the horse. (Pause) You did it!
The Dream Maker is sitting on the horse directly in front of you. She is encircled in a swirling cloud of magical dream dust. And her midnight blue cape hangs down over the sides of her white horse. “Hold on,” she says excitedly as the carousel begins to move. You look toward the mirrored pillar in the center of the carousel, see your own smiling face and wave at yourself as the ride begins. A soft breeze caresses your face as your horse takes you up and down and the carousel spins ’round and ’round.
Up, down, ’round and ’round.
The carousel is slowing down and it seems as if your ride may be coming to an end. But the Dream Maker isn’t ready for the fun to end. She reaches into her pouch and lightly tosses some dream dust into the air. The tiny glittery pieces of dream dust fly around the carousel, swirling around each of the horses. “Hold onto the reigns,” says the Dream Maker. Suddenly, the poles on the carousel horses disappear as the horses come to life. As the carousel slowly comes to a stop, your horse and each of the other horses walk over to the edge of the carousel and gracefully jump down, onto the ground.
“Follow me,” says the Dream Maker as she rides down a trail that leads toward the Crystal Mountain Range. You and the other dreamers ride your horses behind her, single file. You come to a large, red crystal mountain. When you look up, it seems to reach all the way to the sky. Moonlight reflects off of the crystal mountain, bathing the trail and everyone on it in a soft, red light. (Pause) The red color seems to come up from the ground and down from the mountain. For some reason, the red color makes you feel safe. Enjoy the wonderful red feeling of safety. (Pause) When you get to the other side of the mountain, you are approaching an orange crystal mountain. Gradually, the red light that surrounds everything turns reddish- orange, and then orange. You laugh as you look at all the orange horses, your own orange hands and at the pumpkin colored faces of the other dreamers. The orange color gives you a feeling of strength. (Pause) Gradually, the orange light turns to yellow as you ride closer and closer to a beautiful, bright, yellow crystal mountain. The sunny yellow color bathes you in it its warmth and you feel confident and happy. (Pause) The Dream Maker asks you to lead the group and she takes up the rear. You sit up a little taller in your saddle as you confidently lead the others toward a towering green crystal mountain. The green color reminds you of all the beautiful green trees and plants. It fills your heart with love for all living things. (Pause) There are two more crystal mountains ahead and they are magnificent. The first one is a bright violet, or purple color. When you ride around the violet mountain, you soak in the color, along with the understanding that your dreams can take you wherever you want to go.
Finally, you come to the last crystal mountain. It’s both silver and gold. The silver and gold light from the mountain showers down upon you. Like a hug from your mom, it fills you with feelings of kindness, understanding, and love.
All the crystal mountains begin to hum. Each colorful mountain hums a different note. And together they make a beautiful chord. The sound travels through every part of your body. The tingly feeling warms your feet, your ankles, and your legs. It travels through your fingers, hands, arms and shoulders. It fills your belly, your heart, your throat, your face, the space between your eyebrows and the top of your head. You feel wonderful. (Pause)
The Dream Maker says that it’s time to return to the Dream Academy and dream your own dream. But you’ve traveled very far and the horses’ legs are tired. The Dream Maker tosses dream dust into the air. It flies around the horses and suddenly they begin to fly! You and the other dreamers wave to each other as you fly through the sky, back over the crystal mountains, toward the Dream Academy. From the sky, the crystal mountains look like gigantic, sparkling snow cones.
Like a flock of geese, your horses fly in a perfect V formation. When the lead horse gets tired, another one takes its place. (Pause) Up ahead, you can finally see the Dream Academy and the horseless carousel. The horses begin slowing down as they fly lower and lower in preparation for landing. Hold on tight! You hear the thud of the horses’ hooves as they land on the carousel. It was a very smooth landing. Each horse returns to his own place. Your horse turns his head toward you to say good-bye. You put your arms around his neck and give him a big hug. Then, he turns back into a carousel horse. Don’t be sad about saying good-bye to your friend. You can always come back to Dream Land for another ride. Your horse will be waiting.
You and the other dreamers carefully get down from your horses and follow the Dream Maker into the Dream Academy. When you enter your classroom, friendly little clouds are hovering near the floor. There is one for you and one for each of the other dreamers. You recognize your own comfy cloud and lie down on it, sinking into its softness. There is no ceiling in the Dream Academy so you can look up at the bright, sparkling stars and the full, silvery moon as your cloud gently and slowly floats around the classroom.
The Dream Maker floats above you and the other children and says, “Tonight we saw Dream Land’s beautiful crystal mountains. But there is even more to see and explore. There are magical forests, oceans, castles and even tree houses. Whatever you imagine, awaits you in your dream. And it’s your very own dream to dream.
Stay and explore Dream Land for as long as you’d like. When you’re ready, your little cloud will take you safely back home. Good-Night!