47. What Do We Do When Faced with Challenges and Negativity? An Interview with Karen Maezen Miller


Hello and welcome to theIf We Knew Then podcast. I’m Stephen Saux.

And I’m Lori Saux.

And today we’re joined by Zen Buddhist Priest Maezen Miller.

And I’m gonna tell you this conversation is joy and it’s not joy because it’s an easy conversation it’s joy because I’m lighter I feel lighter after the conversation and the reason we reached out to me is then is because we have these feelings sometimes sometimes that we see the underbelly of people %HESITATION society in our everyday life or advocacy or school sometimes the relationships and the conversations that we have plant the seeds of negativity or anger or whatever they are and we should talk about that as a community because it’s important to talk about everything and when we share our stories we grow and that’s where we make changes and we said well who would be our guest to talk about that we hit without it becoming just an hour of let’s just all be angry and and fuel that fire and Maezen and came to mind, a Zen Buddhist Priest to offer some light some guidance and a lot of love and we hope at the end of this episode you feel a little bit lighter just like we do.

Maezen Miller. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Thank you thank you for having me.

Maybe we can start a little bit with you introducing yourself and talking a little bit about being a Zen Buddhist Priest.

My name is Karen Maezen Miller and I am a Zen Buddhist Priest and a mother and wife I’m also an author. I came to this practice about twenty five years ago through just an ordinary life that was full of disappointment and despair and %HESITATION let me tell you what’s in Buddhism is to begin with first Buddhism is not a religion or philosophy it is a practice the hot I practice and is a Japanese word for Chinese word for a Sanskrit word that means meditation that’s all it means meditation so symbolism is the practice the British practice of meditation now you can see and every image of Buddha you will see him teaching what he taught which is a human being sitting still on the ground and that is the kind of meditation that we do in St we set in meditation the way Buddha debt so that we can see what mood a song which is the truth of our lives so beautifully simple it is in fact %HESITATION I can remember a time in writing at us an introduction to probably my first book and I I was asked if I would write something about St and so I went in to talk to my teacher and I said my goodness how do I say anything about St and he said just keep it simple what brought us to you was the initial conversation that we had about these situations that we find ourselves and we’re encountering a negative situation whether it be a dialogue or advocating for a child in the school system or whatever it may be that were were processing if you will those negative doesn’t there’s negatives and some of the times and actually it’s quite a few situations that we’ve been in where we’ve had a completely different situation a relationship with someone that was very adversary and you know when you’re talking about it being towards our son it’s actually by definition discrimination and then there’s those feelings of your discriminated against a child you’re discriminating it’s a child with a disability and because it’s not something that we go out and say this person did this because we try to keep our focus on our life and our life is so full and blessed and getting good that it’s where we choose to put our energy is in a search a different place but then there’s you know situations where the same people that we have this different relationship with an understanding of I mean people just exalt them as they were great people they are an inside we have those feelings of not our experience and it can be a challenge and when we had this conversation as a couple because we had the situation come up I was like that would be something really I’d I’d love to get some insight and and guidance because we can’t be the only ones yeah and just get you some guidance as to in a different way in a different insight and a lot of the things that we had spoken on I mean just last week I could shift my my focus as to how a digested certain situations and that’s that’s a gift that I would really love to be able to share with our listeners so would you like to just talk knowing what what brought us to you I’ll talk about what we talked about and what your concern was what brought us together is that it’s hard in your situation to have he encounters that you have that are disappointing or negative but seem to disregard the reality of your life and your feelings about it and your concerns your foremost concerns which are about your son I believe that you ask how do we process these negative reactions that we have to these negative encounters a negative encounters setter insensitive or unkind or not in keeping with what coach we believe that enhances our son’s life and his opportunity opportunity to learn and grow and I’ll say at first that it’s often fought that negativity should be corrected with positivity that something unpleasant should can be corrected with something that’s more pleasant in fact we have these views these opposite views of pessimism an optimist and %HESITATION one thing that I want to point out at the onset is that our practice or the practice since %HESITATION December is in Buddhism is not to be optimistic necessarily are positive but rather to be even mind that is to not judge anything but rather to be open to things as they occur life is full of relationships and life is full of encounters some of them will be enjoyable most of them most encounters don’t necessarily deliver to you what you’re looking for or what you want or even what you expect so I would caution and guide you to always be aware of two things what you bring in to an encounter and what you take out no matter what occurs in conversation between people all you ever really have to work with is yourself and so be aware of what you bring in what you’re offering in an encounter and then what you leave behind her what you take with you for instance sometimes our conversations and our relationships with people are fraught with judgment and expectations on our part we have a preconception we have a goal in mind and if that isn’t delivered to us if that doesn’t matter we leave them with anger and disappointment we have to be careful because those are powerful thanks powerful sentiments powerful energies we might say and they will affect and distort actually everything that comes forward every feature counter that we have you know will will form use from that so that’s the risk that were in and all of us are in that risk all of us are are presented with situations in which we’re hopeful that things will go a certain way the way we want and then they don’t one thing that I mentioned to you that I think really levels balances out this discussion so that were not drawn into immediately into an adversarial relationship yes the understanding of two thinks one is that everyone you meet is your teacher you will be shown something in every encounter you will be shown something about yourself we say that every teacher is a mirror to another every relationship is a mirroring relationship and so what you see and that is something that either you’re drawn to or that you reject and the other thing to realize is that everyone is afraid everyone carries fear into every situation even those who all positions of influence or power or leadership or expertise everyone is afraid everyone is afraid of what they don’t know and what they can’t control and that’s essentially everything so our boat evasion in life is fear and wanting to find something anything that will make us feel more secure %HESITATION satisfy that fear temporarily now I have a daughter who is now twenty one but I have seen this time and time again my relationship with her has shown me the degree to which I am placing a dependence and emotional dependency on her to deliver something to me that makes me feel that everything’s gonna be okay and sometimes things are not okay but I want that conversation with her I want my relationship with her I want to deliver me to a place where I think okay I don’t have to worry or okay it’s all going to be okay and that’s my needs you know it’s not necessarily hers so that fear even though I can be it’s so subtle sometimes I had to I hide from it but then I have to realize that I am asking somebody else to alleviate my fear or my worry most people aren’t really in a position to be able to do that or even want to do that I think that sometimes you know experts that we might consult are very well aware of what they don’t know and what they can’t do and also very well aware of what you’re being asked to do which is that they don’t feel comfortable that they can do and so here you have a situation which two people encounter each other and they’re both driven by fear and nothing really positive nothing constructive can come from that kind of encounter somebody has to drop that admit that they don’t know and be open to really listening to one another and responding from a wide open non judgmental place I would hope that you would encounter that more often than not but that’s not always how things go I feel like those two different conversations about fear when you were talking about the fear that looking toward your child does it with the feared that everything is going to be okay I feel as a parent I can definitely relate to that and then also especially when I’m dealing with down syndrome I mean from from diagnosis that’s on on every social media group is is everything going to be okay what can I expect in this is you know a lot of times comes before the child is even born because of the way that the news is delivered to the mother that it’s immediately planted that things will not be okay and it’s such a light bulb that I’m I’m actually looking at my son has to give me a hand that things are going to be okay and then the other fear that you talked about was dealing with someone who’s supposed to know what to do that maybe doesn’t know what to do and that fear I definitely feel like when you’re going into an I. E. P. and your across from these people who are supposed to be the professionals who are supposed to be the ones that are supporting your child and giving them the service that they need as mandated by the law so that they can access the curriculum that too the real situation is is they might not know what they’re doing and they don’t want to admit that and I can and we thought that at certain times you break I don’t think they know what they’re doing we’ve had actually an A. P. I. S. se I’m new to this I don’t know what I’m doing and the funny thing was is we got frustrated it was just it will why are you in that such a vital position and it was said it so nonchalantly but in fact maybe we didn’t see it as that gift that that it was a look back and think that was the that was originally an honest person we have talked to you know most people pretend they know what they’re doing and then that can cause a lot a lot of problems but I can revisit that relationship and be thankful for her being so forthcoming as not knowing and maybe I’d have more success at getting to the place where I I actually want to be because I do feel like we’re always fighting and that’s a term that I I’ve even tried to remove from my vocabulary when I’m talking about I eat peas is fighting like why does it have to be a fight that it’s such a violent confrontational word and it’s and it’s a heavy hardware to carry you know I’m fighting for my son’s right I’m fighting for my son’s education and it’s not just a word it actually is the feeling and you carry that in your body that tension you see and it’s possible to hold the position that you might have a constructive conversation and that you want to cover the ground where you stand you know and not manifested in that way not really feel as if it’s a fight it is true that it takes a great deal of integrity to say three words I don’t know and %HESITATION in fact that’s probably the pinnacle of authenticity in human behavior I don’t know it’s actually in our practice it’s where we want to end up you know we don’t become some super human you know super powered you know Celeste you’ll kind of being we’ve become someone who is quite ordinary and lives in the moment what you might say now people have a lot of funny ideas about what it means to live in the moment but in the moment you really don’t know you don’t know what’s gonna happen next you’re not dwelling on anything that happened before but at the same time you can function perfectly you can hear you can see you can think you can move your arms and legs you just won’t have an agenda or a fixed point of view you really be able to communicate with people just like we are now you don’t know what I’m going to say next I don’t know what you’re gonna say next is there any fear is there any friction there’s you see and so there might be at the heart of these adversarial relationships and shared mission and that’s the place that you have to you really since you’re the only one that can do this have to start at let’s remember why we’re here let’s remember where we are going and who this is for and then let’s try to get there together anyone who’s prepared to tell you that they don’t know if someone that you can trust deeply and we have a saying in San in the beginner’s mind are infinite possibilities and in the expert’s mind there are few that beginners mine isn’t just somebody who’s starting out as beginners mind is anybody who is able to begin I’m meeting or conversation or consultation and carry nothing forward from the past be completely open to anything being set and taking any approach at all the fact is I think that in many of the situations when you are likely to be sitting down with someone who’s in a position of authority they are more than ready and able to take their lead from you if your approach is one ounce on responsibility people sometimes who will who have big titles and you know big drops I think that they have responsibility for everything but US parents have utmost responsibility you have far more responsibility than they do so ask yourself you know how do I want to delete this am I going to lead it coming from a position of respect and coming from a position of positivity and coming from a position of collaboration any time we sit down with someone who we believe is an enemy what do you suppose results they’ll they’ll be our enemy and you know frankly I think people are inclined to to go ahead and make everybody nation ship adversarial particularly where their jobs at stake you know this is not somebody that I can work with they might say because in exports minder a few possibilities and that’s a very small space you see I don’t know if this is encouraging to you but I hope it is empowering to you because honestly you can’t change anyone but you can change the temperature the direction and the outcome of every encounter you have if you were to treat someone as a trusted adviser and not necessarily as an untrusted adviser and that’s a big leap by now you have to try that for your son sank and there’s another aspect of this I often think that pessimism and insensitivity and thoughtlessness also are always strict driven by by sheer my ego you know they need to say something but I don’t know what it is and so I’m going to say something that’s inappropriate we talked about this before just to level and calm your mind clear your mind you have to forget those times and you have to forget and forgiveness is not a big deal you just you have to be prepared to drop whatever feeling you’re having about an encounter you and I talked before about processing feelings which is really the way in in in our country well in the west and maybe I should just say you know it’s pervasive I would say that we do have a vernacular for dealing with emotions and we think that feelings are things that we are supposed to think about and digest and ruminate on and you know come to some understanding about them but feelings actually are a fleeting there is temporary as everything else we might amplify and magnify them we might feel worse you know drunken conclusion about the in San we relate and that’s a hard thing to do we recognize that we Kerry old feelings and they don’t service anymore and they don’t serve anybody else you’re called attachments and our our practices to just not pick them up anymore let them go you always have the opportunity to get angry again reset the opportunity for more frustration but it might open you up to having the opportunity to be surprised to be gratified and that’s really worth it restore your faith in people and yourself and your son so you can go into the I. E. P. as a blank slate you can go in it with a different focus as to how you’re identifying the people who are sitting across from you %HESITATION maybe are people who have sat across me before who maybe are people who have denied your son’s placement %HESITATION supports and you can make the choice to go in and maybe try something new of starting from that moment being a beginner in yeah beginning again maybe seen them as just like you’re going in there with a narrow that they could be completely changed right we’re not giving them the opportunity to be a different person if every time we come in we remind them of who they work to us right I am and if and if they prove that that’s who they still are we can get angry again if we want that’s very wise that’s very wise you see and in truth are you the same person you were yesterday yeah no one is at changes happening all the time but if you have stopped them if you’ve placed them in this fixed you know kind of frame and you will only see them in that way well then you’re the one who’s limiting the possibilities C. I suppose really you know and I always defer to your own experience and in this but if you were to if this is a team how do you approach your teammates you know and I I believe you know and you can try this out if you approach them as a team may see how they approach you and I don’t have the words to give you but use yourself as your own guide here how do you feel going into that you feel as if you’re getting ready to go ten rounds with some you know I know that your experience is not unique because I talked to other parents and I know it’s not unique because I know my own experience of having our goals and aspirations dreams and hopes and expectations for what my daughter was going to get out of any particular you know year or a particular teacher and finding time and time again not that the teacher would disappoint me but that my expectations were misplaced I often count this story out learning this about myself and this was really early on in my daughter’s life and she was in preschool and %HESITATION the ambition you know and the concern about development ten against for all of us immediately with our children and my daughter was three she was going into what we call the four year %HESITATION yard at the preschool that she was and at this point we have to be honest we were all looking for signs of early genius our children in particular when we all went into the open house in the four year old classroom where our kids were going to be in the fall we saw pictures on the wall that the four year olds in the current term had drawn and they had they were they actually were bodies with legs and arms and you know they were human figures sent several actually written their names on their drawings which was you know just like light bulbs went off in in the room and everybody there wanted to know if their children in this particular class we’re going to learn how to write their names so finally one parent raised her hand to ask the teacher let me ask you we see drawings around the room and figure tears you know trying send children riding their names tell me is learning how to write your name is that part of the four year old curriculum and the preschool teacher said something at that point that obviously struck to my heart and has stayed with me because I recognized it as what my true name wise as a parent for my child it really wasn’t that I needed for her to get ahead or progress faster so the teacher looked at us with compassion and she said some of your children some of the children are ready to write their names and we support them when they’re ready to write their names and some of the children are not ready to write their names and we support them when they’re not ready to write their names we support your children wherever they are and I felt like I was being thrown back in my chair because I recognized that that is the most laughing valuable encouraging approach to education and life that I ever wanted for my daughter that I probably couldn’t give her with the same open heartedness that her preschool teacher cried because I was so vested in seeing a particular outcome that once again would make me feel secure about who she wants I think that’s such a good point because you know when we’re when we’re talking about supporting Liam where he has one of the struggles are goals that we’re always we’re always having it the conversations were usually having with teachers as that support him where he is not where the expectation or maybe perhaps where where their perception of what down syndrome is where they think he should be or what they think his ability is but to actually be supporting him where he is and I think what happens I know what happens with me is because I’m so the focus done what my son’s ability is and I think I’m focused on it because I’m always told what he can’t do which is different than what I was experiencing my daughter I’m always told what Liam can’t do not always but a lot of the time especially when I’m dealing with school I’m told what he can’t do so that makes me focused on showing what he can do and I think that when you’re you’re saying this there is a balance on both sides for me to be supporting what I know he can do and where he is but also where he has like to speak to actually I think that would be a different feeling in him too obviously I know I have a I think he has a potential that’s different than maybe what the world sees but supporting him as him yes and I think that because I’m so focused on that conversation on the other side where I’m telling the school do you do to support him where he is because they’re always looking at me if they had their way he would have never learned to read he would never learn to write and but for me to take responsibility of that that’s me at the same time that I’m lifting those boundaries that are put on by society and perception to actually and it’s not a bad thing as you’re saying it I think I’ve always thought of it as this if I do that I’m gonna limit him but it’s not it’s giving it’s it’s sending that message of yeah this is we’re going to work towards this but let me support who you are yes support who you want you know the one feeling that I’ve my daughters now twenty one and you know they’ll be a point where you have this kind of clarity and you’ll realize that our children are exactly themselves and they are that at every age and stage that there is this person if there is this fully evolved human being who keeps showing you that and you know actively what’s lacking sometimes in every aspect of our lives is trashed do you trust Liam’s life that it will unfold in a way that nourishes him and nurtures him and guides him and protect him and this is what I found over and over again I happily enough I feel so I’m the last one to know I’m the last one to see this yeah you know I could tell stories about my daughter all the time and I hope that you can hear from them not house special she is or you know how how remarkable appearance I am better learning doesn’t stop your children really teacher teaching all the time your children are teaching you to see them clearly to trust them totally they’re they’re showing you where you’re hanging on %HESITATION where you’re you know lagging behind you know my my daughter had a well she actually growing up she’s not aspects of science and %HESITATION this gave me a lot of encouragement because my own bias was that %HESITATION that would just be wonderful if she would become a girl scientist in you know in all of this stuff I had all of these images in my head and so she did science fairs and you know she loved doing science fairs and she was she let me query %HESITATION and so in high school she %HESITATION took you know that’s fi allergy and then %HESITATION there came a time when she had to choose what she wanted to you know study in college and I like to think that that might still be an option for her she just had to get through calculus one day she said to me she laughed and she said mom don’t you know we’re going to be a scientist she knew all along they know all along they know themselves you know the real risk that we have is that they’re not content or happy with themselves that they somehow feel that their disappointing you I have to remind myself of that still every sleepless night every time worry creep sandwiches you know every day because that doesn’t end that she has a life and it’s her own life and she will rise and grow and fly into it that’s what we have to believe and of course you’ll always love them and you’ll always be there for them and they can always rely on you but there’s not much more than that it’s I think that’s a really good question to ask do I trust Liam’s life and I think that’s something that I have to answer honestly and I think it probably changes but is it something that we can just like we can clear our minds maybe going into an IP or into a grocery store is it something that we can choose to do we have to we have to we might think that we are the masters of fate you know that we are driving the bus but we’re not you see and as time goes on I think that you will yourself see in him that opportunity to let go you won’t want to I mean after all you think you’re very important right %HESITATION that’s really part of this no matter what the circumstance that’s part of our job you know gosh my daughter finally told me one time your mom never have a problem you immediately go you know and you could go to it you know you get all OCD on it you come up with all of these things that you wanna tell me and you come back into my room and you tell me what I need to do and I think well what a good mother I am right and she said every time you do that it shows me that you don’t trust me and that’s the last thing I wanted to convey but nonetheless there was truth in that I didn’t think she could do it without me I thought I would give her an advantage by in her researcher or her %HESITATION you know giving her some little insight you know from my point of view so I don’t know how it will unfold but Liam’s life will unfold as nothing other than Liam’s life and you will be and that but you’re not in charge really hard when does that change you’re talking about house they know themselves so we were once a day right so when when does that change there comes a time when your children will tell you exactly what they think and exactly what they know it will disarm you and I mean every child does this every child does this you know the truth is we we really don’t know we can’t replicate I mean it’s a Marshall human life to Marshall how does it work we don’t know when we can no back there saying intelligence at work here that we can’t comprehend and that’s what you call faith really we have to have faith in what we do not know and what we cannot understand my life and my practice really keeps bringing me to a place I’ve never been before no idea how it will go and I bring my complete attention complete tension to what’s right in front of me in the moment that it appears leaving behind that impulse you know to judge or a concise and in that open space where I’m completely attentive and mindful to reality as it is that attention that your guess is love and that’s the substance within which everything thrives when you said earlier about when we speak about seeing people differently that’s that’s %HESITATION that’s our goal we want people to stop seeing Liam as their prejudices in their receptions that they’ve got stuck in their mind but if we can also see people differently is and that if we can do what we want them to do if we can go into the moment and allows them to be different than what our perception is absolutely that’s you’ve heard of that the saying %HESITATION be the change you want to see the truth is only you can do it only you can do that is it scary well yeah it’s going to be scary but as you experience the difference as you realize different outcomes you will see really makes a difference and it’s not a feeling it’s a spacious it’s acceptance you see and that in that there’s no tension you’re not adding any pressure you’re not pounding and pushing you don’t have to give up you don’t surrender anything it’s just that people respond to that they don’t respond to a question so try it I think sometimes parents when we are advocating that’s the ground that’s a challenge because I think as as parents and nurturers and also wanting to be kind there is that I don’t want to cause a ruckus I don’t want to be the bad guy and I think that what you’re saying is there’s a way that you’re you don’t have to relinquish the advocation for your child do you still support them and getting their supports and and having that but you don’t have to do it with that pounding you know the truth is is that a lot of our IP episodes %HESITATION put everything in writing and get a time stamp make sure you know you know the laws and the rules but that can be done with the with the peaceful heart and a loving heart you don’t you don’t have to resign that part or do you you know they’re not really parts I’ll tell you that an advocate is somebody who shows up somebody was present because that’s most of the power that you have and that’s tremendous power actually showing up in that encounter and your presence is the advocacy and now then you have a conversation you try to find shared goals and shared a shared mission %HESITATION please restate what’s possible I I just think more than likely what happens because this is what I experienced I go into a situation with an agenda and you know what children always know when we’re caring in an agenda into the room and as adults we think we’ve masked it but if you have that kind of a in your mind you know you’ve prepared yourself you know with your battle face in our strategy %HESITATION I think you’ve tried that and it might be very effective but it leaves you with a feeling have a disconnection a feeling of that this is warfare and you have to trust that you know trust that you know them better than anybody so of course you share that and you bring that light to it but just for a moment imagine that they really do want to do what’s best somebody really doesn’t want them to be to thrive be happy and to reach far beyond his potential imagine that you know that’s really the best that I can offer and I I say that just because I know what it feels like in my body and my mind when that frustration rises and the anger rises and the disappointment rises I become cynical you see and I begin to believe that the world is a cruel place and that there’s no help to be found and that I’m alone in this it’s Berendt place and it’s one in which frankly how does life keep going on it doesn’t in a place like that where there’s no nurturing and there’s there’s there’s no harmony and there’s no peace I don’t want you to lose faith in yourself you have an incalculable number of ways that you can change and turn and try you’re resourceful and you have you holding your heart complete love for your son share that I often found that even if I didn’t really %HESITATION oftentimes the beginning of the year I would have my doubts so my daughter didn’t get the right classroom and she doesn’t have the right teacher and she’s not learning the right things and I’ll tell you by the end of the year I had frankly had come to a place where I love to teach you to and what I loved most is that we should have in common my choice you know how can you not love the people who are sharing your son’s life I know I know it’s hard keep that in mind yeah you know I think that I can answer that question and I think that where the challenge comes from is you go into the I. E. P. you have these conversations that in the past they have been adversarial I’m looking forward to seeing what we can create an R. next IP this year but they’re pretty adversarial and things can be said that hit your core the end that man I have to admit that damn plant seeds in that just grow and then you go into the class and it’s hard to undo that it’s a huge challenge and I think that with some of these tools of just alright we’ve had that conversation maybe if I would have had that conversation with love maybe if I would have had that conversation with hope it would have been a different conversation and that and I think that’s really what motive one of the things that motivated us to want to talk to you is because unselfishly on it but as in all of our guests it’s for us to so we can learn so we can grow because that’s the that’s the the want is to grow and to not be changed in a negative way cannot be changed in a way that destroys us on the inside on this journey but to be changed in this beautiful other ways that are gaffes and I think I can take that into even just next week just because we know our son and we know it’s it’s a it’s a gift to know our son so and they do get to feel that and maybe if we allow them to feel that if we allow them that that’s where the change is gonna take place that’s where we can nurture that changed not at a table with ten people or at a zoo what ten people telling them how they failed our son and you know that’s a great light bulb moment for me is to allow that because that’s so allowing the love right here on the other thing is just in the same way that someone started a meeting once and said I’m new at this I don’t know what I’m doing I think it would be wonderful if you could start a meeting and say can we start on a different foot I realize it’s been adversarial in the past but I really respect you and all you’re doing that’s that’s called starting over and we get to do that every day right we get to start over every day every moment right every month one change we had a couple of IP’s ago as we had the principle that we really like %HESITATION come in and help with the and actually run the IP and he’s a very knowledgeable guy and he would have a lot of answers but when he didn’t have the answer he would say you know I he would say I don’t know any write down the questions guys we’re gonna try to I’m confident we can get this answer to you soon and what a what a comfort that wasn’t it wasn’t him showing a weakness it was him showing of strength and that the thing was is it did shift the entire room just his presence and you know to my demise it is from holding on to the past just like I’ve we’ve talked before about we let negative encounters maybe at the park stop us from going to the park or at the grocery store and then I don’t go to the grocery store when he did this and brought this light there I was still just you don’t get to deny what you did I really held on like a bulldog to make sure that they understood I know this is your boss here but I’m gonna make sure that you remember that you try to take my son off curriculum without following the proper you know that was that was me that was that that how I had gotten hard Lee are the parallel that I feel like you know as a parent you you compare you know like when you you were talking about walking into that for you %HESITATION class and looking at the pictures and names on it man I can tell you when when a bunch of parents come into a classroom and and look at pictures and they look at names to them well Jeff is really got some going on there or Sarah is let’s look at the color she’s using and see compare and as a parent of a child with disability I think you you compare as well not only with other children with disabilities everybody and so when you are then in the school system talking to professionals and they’re telling you what your child can’t to Amanda so much of me in particular and I had to drop this egotistical of part of me is when you go into the meeting of sand almost like a look I’m gonna prove he’s going to prove that you’re wrong that you’re not seeing him the way I see him and a lot of times are not seen your child the way you see him and and yes your child is going to do things that they didn’t really count on him doing but that pressure of I’m gonna show you you know there’s a lot of I’m gonna show you how yeah man that’s adversarial right there yet yeah but when you’re talking about just you know when everybody’s work is out there is there’s a part of us that we just I think any open house right wrist brace ourselves you know you’re looking all these ram brands and details and then we had our best rate you know where his biggest cheerleaders so like I said just from our conversation last week let me let go of that let me let go of it let me let me do what I do in most aspects of my life let me do what I say that I do or think that I do or actually want to do and because I think that you feel that you’re weak if you go with the peaceful heart I think that because we have had situations when you know someone has kind of taken advantage of that and %HESITATION we can definitely feel vulnerable yeah what he has to say about vulnerability and those feelings of vulnerability well that’s pretty honest yeah we are vulnerable everybody is you know particularly now in this time we see it maybe more clearly than we ever did nothing that we think is forever it’s forever all those things we think are gonna stay intact what we thought was normal it’s not normal that’s the place you live live in that place them in the place of vulnerability have no shield no pretense you know how I told you that %HESITATION everybody’s a teacher well some teachers are good teachers and they show you they teach you what to do and some teachers are bad teachers and you still learn from them you learn what not to do so you were talking about the principle a true leader somebody who can be vulnerable and not pretend that he has all the answers and while someone in another position might feel like the hard part about IT pieces that they’re supposed to have answers and they’re supposed to agree to things and they’re supposed to pretend that they can actually do this when in the classroom it’s really very hard for them to deliver on an IEP but the principal says that’s a good question that’s a good point let’s find out about that she that’s that’s a teacher that you want to learn from %HESITATION there’s always going to be something that you’re being shown and I also want to know that everybody who walks into an open house bristles because you’re going to find somebody you know who’s mastered the multiplication tables you know or somebody who’s read more books and that’s where we can see ourselves so clearly how how we insert ourselves in our judgments you know and our own fears into our children’s lives and I’m gonna tell you this you’re doing a beautiful job you’re doing a wonderful job you’re doing the very best job you are the very best parents that Liam could half and why do I say that because you’re his parents you see you are his parents how did that happen it happened because it’s the best outcome because you’re the best he’s the best son you could have how can you compare what is aren’t included in St we say things as they are are perfect and that doesn’t mean better than anything it means complete there is nothing lacking nothing lacking I believe that in your heart and you’ll trust yourself and you’ll trust your son annual trust his wife and yes you’ll stumble and you fail you’ll come up short and you cry and you worry but there will never be anything lacking in your life or his you know what powers you is not your anger or your insistence what powers US lots and that’s the greatest power universe so choose that you can still raise your voice you can still be confident in your point of view but try to see through others eyes that are not as confident as you that don’t know Lee M. as well as you do don’t see what you see just put yourself in the shoes be truly vulnerable put yourself in others shoes you know one thing that you had said the other day that that was really important for me to hear was you had mentioned about your daughter and a placement and that you went to your teacher and then he had said why would you want her there if you recall the conversation about sure it was I think it was about a teacher who didn’t support your belief of your or your child yeah yeah this was when she was in sixth grade up to this point you know she had done a lot to math and done well in math actually she’s been on the math Olympic team I think that has more to do with enthusiasm and aptitude but nonetheless she arrived in a new classroom as a sixth grader learning sixth grade math and we had a parent conference we went in and the teacher told us that our daughter was a slow learner and that she was perhaps in the wrong class and %HESITATION we were very disappointed and disturbed we left and I went to my %HESITATION teacher mice and teacher and I talked to him about this and I really wanted him to affirm for me that something was wrong with the teacher and he said first get her out of that class and he said and the other thing is more to the point for me don’t add any pressure to that little one meaning my daughter don’t push her you know don’t cross her to become something that you’d like that was the message in that not just don’t leave her in a class where the teacher doesn’t see her or care for her or what her that’s the first thing and the other thing he wisely saw was it perhaps I was putting too much pressure on Georgia to do better please me so yeah we have these choices all the time we can tell when they’re in classrooms and with teachers who don’t care for them really don’t see them or want them in class can we see all of the times that we’re holding on too who we want our child to be that’s what was clarifying for me.

Thank you Maezen.

Oh you’re so welcome it was really effortless. I’m so glad to know you and I want you to stay in touch with me.

Yes I would like that yes. Thank you so much for this conversation it’s been just a really beautiful gift to be able to spend this afternoon with you.

Of course my pleasure. I loved meeting and I hope we talk again.

We do too.

Please follow us on Twitter @ifweknewthenPOD you can drop us a line on our Facebook page @ifweknewthenPOD or visit our website https://www.IfWeKnewThen.com to send us an email with questions and comments. You can join our mailing list there and get alerts of future podcast episodes. Thank you again and we look forward to you joining us on the next episode of IF WE KNEW THEN.

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