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My son Nathan is autistic, so he struggles everyday with many things most of us take for granted. We, as his family, struggle too along with him. Things like speaking, a change in his environment, certain sounds, interruptions in his plans or routine and a host of other things often cause him great frustration, fear, anxiety, or turmoil. He cannot readily communicate these emotions and his actions and reactions get extreme and even volatile. He is a smart boy and his thoughts are increasingly complex like many five year olds. Regrettably, he is largely unable to reveal them to us, ask any clarifying questions or negotiate an improved situation in his times of need. Still as he grows, I see that he’s picking up acorns for later. He is learning, though very slowly at times, to live in a world he perceives quite differently than we do.

I don’t know what Nathan’s future is going to be like. Will children ever want to play with him for any length of time? Will he ever make and keep any close friends? Will he always struggle to learn? Will he find a suitable mate one day? Will he one day obtain and keep a good job? Maybe; maybe not. These are acorns right now for him. But like others in Nathan’s life, I see potential. I see the strong oak tree my “little acorn” could become, with a lot of hard work from him and everybody else helping him, of course. The boy has excellent seeds that need to be planted, nourished and cared for. He also has some bad seeds too, as we all do. These seeds can germinate in his life and produce unkindness, stubbornness, self-centeredness, rage, or poor self-esteem.

All the good things and bad things in us start out as seeds. Seeds either lead to wisdom or to folly.

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