Some years ago, I was speaking with one of my clients about fatherhood.
At the time, both of his sons were in their teens and he was commenting on the general sentiments of independence and the somewhat rebellious nature of teenagers.
I remember thinking, as Jackson was my only child at the time (and he would have only been maybe 7 or 8 years old), that even though I had challenges as a parent, they didn’t seem to be the same for a parent of a child with special needs as they might be for a parent of “neuro-typical” children.
I had relegated myself to the belief that Jackson’s autism meant that he would always need his parents and I wouldn’t experience those same feelings of his growing independence or any sense of rebellion.
And then, Jackson became a teenager.
The last couple of years of Jackson’s life, he has become not only more expressive, but his vocabulary is growing and, with it, he’s more than willing to express when he’s dissatisfied with something or if he simply does not want to go along with whatever the plans are for everyone else involved.
In a way, it’s impressive to me because with this change in hormones and all the things that any other teenager of measure goes through, I see it all as leaps and bounds of progress in his life. As his father, it makes me proud to see how he is evolving and growing.
And, in a way, I now share that bittersweet sentiment that my client had expressed to me years ago that maybe my young man isn’t quite as dependent on me as I had once convinced myself. Of course, I’ll experience this again in different (but similar) ways as Sebastian reaches the same age.
Such are the stages of life…
And it reminded me too, that as coaches, we play a similar role in the lives of our clients.
There is a message that coaches are impressed with, that we should equip our clients with all the tools they need to be successful without us: the appropriate way to train, the most advantageous way to eat, the self-confidence to see what their bodies and minds are capable of, and the knowledge that, if they wanted to, they could take those tools with them, no longer in need of our help.
The extension of that message being, that we created an environment and a place of support for them that even though they could leave, they could opt to stay as well.
As parents to children, coaches to clients, it’s our way of saying and expressing that I’m always here when you need me, here are the tools you’ll need, and that these are the wings you’ll fly on…
And then, we watch you take flight.
This article is being released in the week of Thanksgiving. I’d like to humbly express my gratitude to all of the readers of this site, the clients who inspire the majority of these articles, my family who inspire the remainder of the articles and to everyone who’s put myself and my coaches in position and privilege to see you get your wings.
Happy Thanksgiving from the RevFit family and the Leenaarts family to you and yours.