There are very few television shows that my whole family likes to watch. One is a show called “the Middle”. The show is about a family with three children who seem to act an awful lot like my three children. We laugh about the way the three interact and the interaction with their parents. We are also amused by the parents and how nothing in their house seems to work without duct tape, or a broom handle holding it together. While the show can sometimes be over the top in it’s portrayal of family life, the episode I watched was dead on. The youngest child Brick, has socializing issues and they manifest themselves in odd behaviors at school. They have, over the seasons shown the parents meeting with the teacher at school talking about how they can best help Brick. Most of these meetings have been rather funny exchanges in which the parents will always be so nervous they say the wrong thing to the teacher. In this episode they go to the meeting thinking their son is improving only to find out he has actually added a new behavior that is concerning enough to the teacher for her to bring in the school psychologist. The “expert” goes directly to what could be wrong with their child. Mom’s response, “Wait, you’re calling it a disorder now?”
The parents further respond “We're not the kind of family that needs therapy. ” So what the parents try to do, is fix him themselves. They get to the point of using a spray bottle like they are training a puppy. None of it changes anything including the therapeutic bunny that turns out to be vicious. While I laughed at the absurdity of the parent’s action, I can’t help but feel a little connection with them. I know in our family there have been many situations I have tried my best to “fix”. I even made a chair with old skis on the bottom to get my son to the bus when it was snowing. I think it is a part of my personality to need to feel like I am helping. I don’t know if it is being a male or the way I was raised but asking for help is not in my nature. So when the situation gets beyond what I can fix, I get out of my comfort zone. I want to know that I can make a difference or that what I can do somehow makes things better. I’m sure not everything I’ve done has made things better, but over the years I have had to let go of any pretension of being able to “fix” everything or even most things. Relying on doctors and therapists, psychologists, and specialists to help our family has allowed our son to reach places I never would have dreamed he could reach. It can be a really un-nerving experience at first to realize you can’t do it alone, but allowing yourself to get past the fear will help you to do what you can, and allow others to take you and your family farther than where you could get on your own.