I had lunch with two of my bffs, Vickie and Wakako. They are both amazing women and it was bliss to sit and have a grown-up lunch with them.
At some point in the conversation Wakako asked me:
Wakako: What’s Issy going to do when she gets older?
Me: Well, she will be home. She can’t have a job. Can you imagine the first time her boss asked her to do something she didn’t want to do?! I really just want her to be happy. I guess she can watch movies ands surf youtube…..
Wakako. Well, I think she can to do something. She can do something that’s meaningful AND contribute to society. I don’t know. Maybe a chocolatier?
Me: I guess she could learn to melt chocolate and pour it into molds. I could have her sell the chocolates to the local stores. Maybe?
Wakako: Well, that or something else. You’re just going to have to pick something for her.
Me: Pick something for her? Like a career?
Wakako: I’ve had students that were “typical” but extremely indecisive. I told their parents to just pick a career for them. If they changed their mind later, fine. But at least they were working toward something rather than just fumbling through different courses in college.
Me: Well, Issy’s smart. She can learn ANYTHING! She’s only 13…. so if we started working on skills now, well heck, she would be able to do millions of things!
That moment Wakako seriously changed my life!!! I was so excited! I didn’t sleep a wink that night. I was going to find “meaningful work” for my daughter. It was time that she started a “job”.
In ‘normal’ life, most 13 year olds do not have jobs. However, most of them do homework or participate in sports and/or any number of extra curricular activities. Issy however, doesn’t do any of those things. But instead of those things, she will have “work” or she will go to her “job”.
A huge problem we have with Issy, is boredom. She just doesn’t enjoy that many activities. Sure she loves to go to the water park but clearly, we can’t do that very often. So she has a lot of time where she is just hanging out at home. The more unstructured time like this, the more we see her behaviors. During the weeks she is busy with school. On Saturday she is really happy to just hang out at home watching videos or playing on the ipad. But by Sunday, she wakes up full of rage.
Is it because she is board? Is it just a habit that she has to rage on Sundays? We’ve tried to structure Sunday’s but failed when we tried to take her to church (she had a melt down. I was hit several times. It was horrible for the congregation to see.). We also live an hour away from a shopping mall or fun activities like a bowling alley or large movie complex. Sundays are just bad news for us.
Back to my point, Issy will now have to do work daily. It is going to be a part of her schedule just like going to school is. In fact, she will go to school ride the bus home, have a snack, then go to work. Just like other kids go to sports practice or whatever. She will also have “work” on the weekends.
“Work” will be in a different place than home. Our church offered the use of one of their rooms. She will go to work, stay for a reasonable time, and then come home. “Working” will help structure her time and may even give her the opportunity to earn her own money.
Currently, Issy is in residential treatment. I told the behaviorist about Issy’s “work”. They are incorporating Issy’s “work” into her daily schedule.
So what did I decide to do for Issy’s meaningful work?
Ready for it?
She will be able to make crafts that we can sell at our two local art fairs in the summer. I’ll also set up a website where she can sell her crafts. Maybe someday we can purchase a craft tent for shows and/or maybe eventually a building for her work in!! Who knows?!
So for now, Issy’s work is using this paper punch to punch out pretty scrapbook paper, fold it into an envelope and use a small piece of double sided tape to secure the envelope.
I doubt that there is much demand for a large number of mini envelopes. I’m thinking that we may not do any craft fairs this year. But the point is that she is learning to use the double-sided tape (she has to be careful and only use a small piece), she is using a paper punch, and she is doing SOMETHING. There is great value in her just doing something.
So I’m on a quest to find crafts that Issy can do, but not childish looking craft projects. So please comment if you have any ideas. Oh, and have you SEEN PINTEREST!?!?! I’m getting some great ideas there. I even started an Issy board! Let me know if you want permission to pin to it and I’ll add you (and be forever grateful to you).
I don’t know that Issy will do crafts for her entire life. At 13 years old, and starting now, she may develop into quite an artist. Or maybe we’ll switch over to making candies and chocolates. She may, at some point, be able to tell me what she wants to do. Can you imagine that day?! We would turn the world upside down to offer her any opportunity she wanted.
So what about ‘meaningful work’ with your children? Have you thought about it? What have you decided to do? I would love to hear your ideas and feed back.
Thank you for reading! This is a picture of me giving you all double high 5’s!!!!!