I’ve asked Tucker’s teachers to write about their experiences with him. I’m waiting until I get them all to post – but I think it will paint a really good picture of what our teachers do (and don’t) know. More importantly? How our teachers have always believed in him and really worked to get him.
On Tuesday one of the teachers let me read what she had so far. One of the ideas she wrote about was she always felt as if there was another adult in her classroom, Tucker.
People often tell me how mature he is – I’ve always thought it’s due to his echolalia (aka – tape recorder). But…it’s more than that. He just has an understanding of things beyond his age – see Day #133 – I’ve Never Seen a White Person for just one example.
Recently, a friend wrote to me – “Today I read something online and it reminded me of Tucker. I think Tucker is an old soul. He’s just wise beyond his years and doesn’t get caught up in the stuff that doesn’t really matter. I’d like him to spend more time with my son, can we make that happen?”
Is Tucker and old soul?
It seems the characteristics of an ‘old soul’ certainly match a more agrarian, collective society…one that existed 50 years ago. One that I wrote about in Ode to a Farmer and Old Soul Planting. I’ve often heard the term ‘old soul,’ so I decided to do a little searching.
I found ‘9 Signs Your Are an Old Soul’ from http://lonerwolf.com/9-signs-youre-an-old-soul/
You tend to be a solitary loner. Yep – this made me LAUGH OUT LOUD. Last night we were talking with a friend about ‘grounding’ children. My husband laughed and said, “We can’t ground Tucker. Telling him to go be alone in his room would be heaven.” It’s true. He likes people, but he is perfectly content being alone. I used to think it was because of the language and relationship-building barriers. I know this is a factor…but I now I choose to focus on the fact that he is ultra confident in being himself. I think that’s awesome.
You love knowledge, wisdom, and truth. Yep – he is always wondering about larger ideas in life. Tucker’s nose is usually in a book (or an electronic version of a book). He’s always reading and learning about something (even if it’s not always what he is SUPPOSED to be learning). Most of his teachers report their only ‘real’ trouble with him is when he needs to put down the book and get back to work.
Recently he told me he wants to be a history teacher because he wants people to learn about the past so they don’t mess up again.
I have long said that Tucker will make a difference in others’ lives because of his early attention to social justice. He didn’t understand the inequality that exists between people before he really knew the extent of the inequalities.
You’re spiritually inclined. Yep – he does not have an ego. When he played basketball this year he never once compared himself or complained about playing time. He simply doesn’t recognize people as being better or worse and rarely compares himself to another (read Day #138 – The Red T-Shirt). He also gets the better part of religion – the part that focuses on grace, forgiveness, and health.
You understand the transience of life. Yep – he has a strange understanding of the ‘cycle’ of life. This year his 5th grade teacher passed away. I was worried and wondered how he would handle her death. First he wanted to know all of the details about her illness. Then, he simply said “I feel bad for her family because they will miss her- but it’s better that she went to heaven and isn’t in pain. She was a great teacher. She won’t ever really die though, because she had so many students who know her ideas. They will teach their children and their children and their children…you know what I mean?”
What?!?! Was that my 12-year-old? Sure was…
You’re thoughtful and introspective. Yep – he is always thinking about others. The other night he exited the auditorium immediately after his sister’s orchestra concert. We thought it was because he was on overload. That was not the case. He wanted to be first in line to get ice cream. For himself? Possibly, except that he returned with two cups. He also got one for Estelle so she wouldn’t have to wait in line. He knew there would be a big line once all of the children finished. He doesn’t always learn from lessons ‘taught to him’ but he always learn from lessons ‘taught to himself.’
You see the bigger picture. Yep – he does not get lost in the details of life. He understands that life is more than any given moment.
You aren’t materialistic. Yep – he could care less if his t-shirts came from Target or the Nike Store. He doesn’t really even recognize ‘brand’ labels. He is happy to just be where he is – he never asks for gifts and every Christmas says, “I have everything I need – a home, a family, and food.”
You were a strange, social maladaptive kid. Yep – I love this quote from the website, “If you can talk to your child like he/she is an adult – you’ve probably got an old soul on your hands.”
You just ‘feel’ old. Yep – he prefers to have conversations with ‘older’ people. He even has an ‘old’ sense of humor. When he was four he was riding in the back of his Grandmother’s vehicle and she was backing out slowly. He proclaimed, “C’mon Grandma, get ol Bessie moving.”
Here is what I know…as more parents tell me about their children with ASD I’ve recognized they seem to have many of these same qualities. It seems pretty obvious that we should spend a little less time teaching them the ‘right ways’ to think, feel, and behave and spend more time learning from them how to think, feel, and behave.