Why you should read Differently Wired
I read the first part of Debbie Reber’s book, Differently Wired - Raising an exceptional child in a conventional world and bristled.
Debbie says the predominant culture does not embrace and celebrate “anyone who learns and thinks in a way different from the expected norm.” This is easy enough to swallow. But then she dares imply that we, as parents of Wonderfully Wired kids, keep that status quo!
The most annoying thing about it is, Debbie is on to something.
Debbie’s story, like mine and yours, was gloriously interrupted by an exceptional kid. Debbie was growing a career as an author and making a name for herself in the media world when her son Asher was born. His birth would change the direction of her personal and eventually, her professional life.
In Differently Wired Debbie vulnerably tells us about the first years of raising Asher of being a voracious reader that delved deeply and passionately into interests from marine-biology to space exploration. He energetically questioned the world and everything and everyone in it.
The world didn’t like that.
Debbie tells of moving between schools and of how teachers struggled to understand, manage and unlock Asher, making him angry, anxious and volatile. “My new job,” she writes “was educating Asher’s teachers about how to manage his behaviour.”
As Debbie describes her passion, frustration, exhaustion and isolation in the early years, I got a lump in my throat. So many of us know the sadness well and are overwhelmed by the dramatic disconnect between the sweet, smart kids that we love and their seemingly doomed path in conventional schools.
If we are very honest, there is also the roadblock of our own antagonism, our longing for ‘normal’ and our unwillingness to let our children be who they are.
Debbie’s book is not a shaming. It’s an invitation:
To move forward by becoming very honest about our different situations and our different kids. To grieve the loss of whatever we thought family lives and parenting should look like and instead embrace who our kids really are and what kind of parenting would best unlock their thriving.
To join a revolution.
“ I ask(ed) you to imagine a world where you could ditch the worry, fear, and guilt; where you could talk openly about who your child is without worry of stigma; where you could bring empathy and respect to your parenting; where you could feel present, secure, confident, and, yes, even joyful in knowing that you are exactly the parent your child needs.”
As parents join the revolution of parenting exceptional children in a conventional world we need to be equipped and encouraged to be able to do so confidently. Reading Differently Wired is a good start.
The second part of the book gets very practical with 17 shifts in your thinking about your child and about being their parent - Debbie calls them TILT’s. She has us ‘questioning everything’ and ‘letting go of what others think’ and urges us to trade fear for possibility. She helps us ‘become fluent in our child’s language’ and ‘practice relentless self care’.
By the time you get to Tilt 12 ‘Make a ruckus when you need to’, and Tilt 18 ‘If it doesn’t exist, create it’, something has changed. The loudest voices of worry and fear have given way to the blossoming new idea that thriving as different isn’t only possible but even likely.
By the end of the book I wasn’t so annoyed - I wasn’t even so cross at myself for not knowing what I didn’t know before I knew it.
That happens to me often.
I was ready to be signed up for that revolution, convinced that my children need it and also that the world needs what our children have to offer.
Listen to my podcast interview with Debbie here