I see that so many talk about choosing to be happy and how it all starts with yourself. Can you please tell me how you're able to differentiate that with still putting God first? That's my only true feeling of being torn. That I put all the weight on (us) and leave God out of the equation...
Thank you for asking that question. I believe I can answer that in a few ways. First, I do want to acknowledge that the Kaufmans are extremely spiritual people. Putting God first in their lives and not being afraid to talk about God in their teachings and lectures. I also want to acknowledge that our own family is Christian, serving at church on worship team and praying together as a family when ever our hearts move us to.
Next, I want to talk about choosing to be happy and also about looking to understand yourself before you can start to truly help your son. God gave us the most precious and most challenging gift when he gave us free will. By allowing us the freedom to choose our faith, our actions, our desires, our words, and our feelings, He shows us the utmost respect and trust. Now, when I say, “we choose our feelings”, that is really the foundation of everything they teach at the Option Institute, including the Son-Rise program.
If you think about it, everything that happens in life is just what it is. It isn’t good or bad until we decide it is. For example, a couple get into a car accident, the husband is standing on the side of the road just furious as he looks at his brand new Mercedes Benz in ruins, while his wife is standing next to him in tears of joy, praying to God for his blessings for they are both alive and unharmed and will be able to return home to their children that evening. You and I could even look at our sons’ autism this way, it isn’t good or bad, it just is. The good or bad part comes from what we decide it to be. A great example of that is looking at my first FB entry after Ka’eo, Jr was diagnosed – doom and gloom, then looking at many of my FB posts recently – sheer joy and excitement! Ka’eo, Jr may have improved since then, but he still has autism. What really changed was my belief and my choice about how to feel about the situation, about Ka’eo, Jr., about our future, and about myself and my role in this journey.
One of the first things we learn in Son-Rise is to be happy with ourselves, to be happy with our children, and to be happy with their autism. Our sons’ autism is a part of them, for now, it is just as much a part of them as their cute little toesies! Not everyone recovers through Son-Rise. But really, not everyone recovers from ABA, Biomedical, Floortime, RDI, etc.! A fantastic thing I’ve learned is how to WANT but not to NEED. (I only wish I’d learned these principles when I was younger, so much stress, conflict, and pain could have been avoided!) I want Ka’eo, Jr to recover from autism but I don’t need him to. I want him to say, “Daddy, I love you.” but I don’t need him to. I want to get a promotion at work, but I don’t need to. I want my wife to kiss me 20 times a day but I don’t need her to. Get the picture? By letting go of our need for things to happen, we are free to want as much as we desire without being let down, disappointed, or stressed.
This leads perfectly into the foundations of Son-Rise: complete non-judgment, acceptance, and love. If I don’t NEED Ka’eo, Jr. to get better or perform better, I am free to truly love and accept him for who he is in this moment. Also, if I am in control of my beliefs, I am in control of my feelings, and I am free to choose happiness in each moment. What a gift!
I believe God is in control. He gave me this life, he gave me this child, he gave me this family, he gave me Son-Rise. I believe he has a plan for us all. I also believe he gave me free will in order to choose my own path, my own faith, and my own happiness.
I hope this helps!
Love n Aloha… ~Ka’eo