The Perspective Principle: Redefining Dreams and Perspectives in Parenting

By Jamila Phillips

Hello, friends, my name is Jamila Phillips. I am a speaker, author, teacher, and most importantly, a mother. I have three wonderful sons who are truly my greatest accomplishments. I wrote the book “Dream Changer” to encourage parents and caregivers to keep dreaming, even though their dreams of life as a parent have changed. This book is about finding joy and something positive in life’s challenges, and today, I want to share some of those insights with you, especially about parenting children with special needs.

The Power of Perspective

“Perspective is everything!! Perspective can change the trajectory of your moments, days, and life.” This quote from my book, “Dream Changer,” is a cornerstone of my philosophy. In the journey of parenting, especially when caring for a child with special needs, our perspective can indeed shape our experiences. It’s not just about seeing the glass as half full but understanding that the glass itself can be a source of endless possibilities and learning.

Learning from Andrew: A Mother’s Shift in Perspective

My journey with my son Andrew has been a profound teacher in shifting perspectives. Andrew, who is 14 years old, non-verbal, non-ambulatory, and lives with cerebral palsy, has shown me the world in a different light. Each morning, as I assist him getting ready for his day.  I take care of his toileting needs, dressing, transferring him to his chair, feeding and with his communication device.  It is always an action packed morning and we are often late, because Andrew loves to ask questions and chat with me throughout our morning routine. I have a choice. I could view our slow-paced mornings, filled with his eager questions and attempts to chat, as inconvenient.  I could get frustrated about always being late even though I always feel as though I start early enough to accommodate his chattiness.  But instead, I choose to see it as a GIFT!

Here is a young man, intelligent enough to read and use a communication device to articulate his thoughts. His tenacity in ensuring I understand him is something many verbal children his age may not exhibit. This is not a hindrance; it’s a demonstration of his incredible abilities and determination. In these moments, my perspective shifts from frustration to admiration and gratitude.

Societal Changes Through the Lens of Perspective: Addressing a Mother’s Concerns

As we observe the world embracing inclusivity, especially for individuals with special needs, there’s a mix of hope and lingering concerns that many parents like myself grapple with. While positive changes are evident in media, education, and the workforce, a recurring question often shadows my thoughts: “Will Andrew be okay when I am gone?” This question, both haunting and grounding, has driven me to pursue further education and work, not just for personal growth but to secure Andrew’s future.

This concern has kept me up at night, aging me in ways only a parent and caregiver can understand. I continue to save and plan for his care, seeking assurance in a world that’s still learning to fully include people like him. Despite my faith offering solace, my human nature can’t help but worry. As we witness societal changes, it’s this very question that often brings a shift in perspective, from focusing solely on the present challenges to also preparing for a future that I hope will be kind and inclusive to Andrew.

Enhancing Life Through Positive Focus

In focusing on the positive, we find strength to navigate our present. Concentrating on the inclusive advancements in society brings hope, focus, and reduces stress in my daily life. It’s not about ignoring the challenges but choosing to see the progress and opportunities they present.

When Andrew masters a new phrase on his communication device, it’s not just a win for us; it’s a reflection of society’s growing understanding and support for diverse ways of communication. This positive focus isn’t just a coping mechanism; it’s a powerful tool that enriches our journey as parents and caregivers.

Tips for Maintaining a Positive Outlook

Maintaining a positive perspective, especially in the journey of parenting and being a caregiver of a child with special needs, is crucial yet challenging. Here are some practical tips that have helped me:

  • Celebrate Small Victories: Every small step forward, be it a new word learned or a task accomplished independently, is a victory worth celebrating. These moments build up over time and remind us of the progress being made.
  • Seek and Offer Support: Connecting with other parents and caregivers who understand your journey can be incredibly affirming. Share your experiences and learn from others.
  • Focus on Abilities, Not Just Limitations: Recognize and nurture your child’s abilities. Celebrating what they can do, rather than fixating on what they can’t, fosters a positive environment for growth.
  • Take Time for Self-Care: It’s easy to get lost in caregiving roles. Remember to take time for yourself, as your well-being is vital for both you and your child.
  • Stay Informed and Adaptive: Keep abreast of new developments in therapies, educational approaches, and inclusive practices. Being informed helps in making better decisions for your child’s growth.
  • Cultivate Patience and Understanding: Patience is a virtue, especially in parenting. Understand that progress may be slow, but every effort counts.

Changing perspectives can transform the seemingly insurmountable challenges of parenting a child with special needs into a journey of growth, love, and understanding. It allows us to see beyond the immediate difficulties and embrace the joys and unique experiences that come with this special role. By adopting a positive outlook and focusing on the inclusive changes in society, we can make our present life more enjoyable and less stressful, while preparing for a hopeful future for our children.

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Share your stories, your struggles, and your triumphs. Let’s continue to inspire and support each other in this beautiful, sometimes challenging, but always rewarding journey of parenting and caregiving. Dream big, love deeply, and keep a positive perspective. It’s not just about changing our lives; it’s about shaping a better, more inclusive world for our children.

Thank you for reading, and I wish you joy, strength, and endless dreams on your parenting and caregiving journey.  Always remember, “A changed dream, can be a dream come true!” #keepdreaming

Thank you for taking the time to read and reflect with me. If this post has touched you, or if you have your own unique experiences and insights in the realm of parenting and perspective, I’d love to hear from you. Your stories and experiences are what enrich this ongoing conversation.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a speaker who brings heartfelt insights and a fresh perspective to events, workshops, or blog collaborations, I am available for guest speaking, presenting, and blogging opportunities. I am passionate about sharing my journey and learning from others, and I would be honored to contribute to your event or platform.

You can reach out to me for sharing, collaboration, or booking inquiries at:

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