Building Resilience in children.
This kid, how he continues to help me grow. A couple of years ago now, a mate of mine Greg popped by for a bit of a catchup and gave Jaiden a couple of old car magazines he had laying around. After Greg left, I showed Jaiden his car, which is a beautiful old 1965 Falcon with a turbocharged engine from a late model Falcon that was in the process of a rebuild. Greg had mentioned that when it was done, he’d take Jaiden for a drive in it, they are words a car-obsessed 10 year old does not forget! Fasforward 2+ years, Jaiden read those car magazines from cover to cover more times than I can count, and Greg’s old falcon is back on the road. Whilst still in Bathurst Greg invited us out to a Powercruise Promotions event at Queensland Raceway for some ride alongs on the racetrack! After years of looking at pics and video of the old Falcon, and imagining the day he got a ride in his first “Fast car”, his excitement levels were out of this world when I told him. At that stage, we had a lot of work ahead of us before getting to QLD, but those couple of months passed, and the day had arrived. We decided we’d camp nearby, so we packed up our camping gear and hit the road! Jaiden setup camp in record time and we were soon en route to the racetrack. We arrived at the track, paid our entry fee and went over to check in as passengers when we were dealt the news.. All children MUST be over 13, AND have photo ID for a ride along on the racetrack. My heart sank, I looked at Jaiden and tears began welling in his eyes. I begged and pleaded with the staff, offering other kinds of (non photo) ID, but was told there were no exceptions. Being homeschooled, and just turned 13, he has little need for photo ID so I had never even considered it, nor did their website mention it anywhere as I had read the website front to back to ensure we had no dramas. We walked away and honestly, I could not even look at Jaiden because I knew how close I was to breaking down too. All I could do was hug him, and apologise. Previously, I had promised him that the months of bloody hard work he’d put in, the isolation, being mistreated by people he cared about, and all the stress that accompanied it would be worthwhile the day he finally got into the Falcon, on a racetrack.
Here we were accepting today was not going to be that day. I knew he would get a ride in it one day, but saying “Oh well, it will happen another day” would have been little consolation.I was amazed at how well he held himself together throughout the entire day. I was literally waiting for him to break down and lose it. Each time I made sure he was ok, he took a deep breath, sighed and said “It’s ok, we can’t change it”, his resilience made my heart so full, but I knew his little heart was broken. Despite this heartbreak, Jaiden allowed me to go on track without him whilst he stood by watching me cruise around in the car he’d dreamed about going in for years. Thankfully, we were able to take him for a small ride in the car around the pits, which despite all the disappointment, was enough of a treat to work up a smile for this pic. Anybody reading this is old enough to know life throws challenges our way, it is just a part of life. I’ve long tried to help Jaiden understand these challenges are will come and go, and have worked to give him coping mechanisms so as to not let these struggles break his spirit. I will openly admit, on that day my 13 year old, ASD son, was my teacher. After everything the past few months had thrown at us, I felt like the entire universe was bashing us down, all I wanted to do was scream, cry, and have a tantrum at the injustices of the world because my spirit had been well and truly broken. But seeing resilience gave me the strength to keep it together and I could not be prouder, but also highly embarrassed to admit that he was my rock, he was the one helping me hold it together.Once again, the student becomes the teacher.This story is to be continued…** A huge thanks to Greg from Gravelrash Bluetooth Audio Solutions for offering to take us out, fingers crossed it works out better next time! Shameless plug – If you’re in the market for an audio solution for your caravan or classic car, Greg makes awesome, compact, low power draw, 12v Bluetooth units! Not a sponsored plug, just a mate who makes a great product!**