We were so sorry to hear about your little one’s condition. When your child is hurt, there is nothing quite like the pain in your heart. Any loving parent would instantly trade places to spare him. We will continue to think of you and especially to pray for your comfort, and that your precious little one gets the help he needs, and perhaps even less disability than you have been told. Our God can indeed work wonders.
But for now, may I please be so bold as to offer you a little advice? My current vision problem did not just suddenly start—I was born with it, but no one realized it, not even my parents. In those days children were not checked as often or as completely as they are today. As a result, my parents treated me exactly like they would have any child. The first four years of my life I saw nothing but a blur of color, but I was the only one who knew that, and of course, I thought everyone was that way and did not complain. I was, in fact, legally blind, yet I still learned to feed and dress myself. They were able to potty train me. I memorized quickly because I couldn’t see, and that has stuck with me, at least until now when age has affected it some. Still I probably remember things better than most people my age.
Even after they realized something was wrong, the doctor himself did not recognize exactly what the problem was, just that “she has really bad vision.” You probably know something about magnification in lenses. My magnification was +17.25 and that only got me to 20/40 on a good day, and that was not even the worst of my issues. Yet I still learned to function. When you can’t see well you notice things that other people don’t.
Even with correction I couldn’t see faces across a lawn or a parking lot or even a large room. But I knew people by their walks and hand gestures. If I had seen them earlier in the day, I remembered the color they wore. I couldn’t read street signs, but I knew there was a tree on that corner, or a pothole just before the turn. You adapt when your survival, whether life and death or simply getting along in society, depends on it.
Even if I eventually lose it all, which is probable, I still plan to be independent as long as possible. I will probably be a widow someday, but I do not want to live with anyone, or in some care facility, until it is absolutely necessary. I feel that way because of how I was raised.
You need to give your child that same spirit of independence. One thing is good and I say this from experience: since he was born this way, he will not know what he is missing. Don’t you make him miserable by treating him like there is something missing. The best gift you can give him is the one my parents gave me, even if it was accidental: treat him like a normal child. He is normal; normal for him! Help him learn how to get along. Push him. Tell him he can do it, even when you aren’t sure he can. You’d be surprised what can be accomplished simply because a person thinks he can. This is the loving thing for parents in your position to do. Babying him is not. I will be forever grateful that I was not babied—it has made me strong and able to bear far more than most.
Now comes the hard part: don’t let anyone baby him, and that includes grandparents. You may have to put your foot down once in a while. Do not be afraid to tell them, “No.” You can do it kindly and with respect, but you have to be the one who stands up for your child against anyone’s misguided attempts to shelter him. He is your child and God will hold you accountable for his care. You might need to remind them of that once in a while.
Treating him as a normal child will also mean disciplining him that way. It is hard enough to scold or spank the little hands of a perfectly healthy child. You must be strong enough to do this. Your child is counting on you to turn him into a faithful child of God and save his soul. If you let him have his way because of his “problem,” you are only creating more problems for him to overcome—you are not loving him like you think you are. I am forever grateful to my parents for not turning me into a selfish, and self-absorbed, adult.
God has a purpose for all of his children, and your little one will grow up better able to serve those who have disabilities than those who have none ever could. He will understand and sympathize and think of things that other people do not—another thing that Keith and I have discovered as our disabilities have increased. No one even thinks to consider what we can or cannot hear, can or cannot see. Only the disabled give us that consideration. And thus the disabled are enabled to help others. But he won’t perform that service if you raise him to think that he is the center of the universe because of his disability.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you. Do not be too proud to use Blind Services or anything else offered to you. It is not sinful to take help. It will be nice to know that someone who really deserves our tax money is making use of it. And do not be afraid, or too proud, to ask for whatever help you need from your brothers and sisters in the Lord, including us. That’s why God put us here.
We are praying for you as you take this journey. It will be hard at times, but other times it will bring you even more joy than the parents of the perfectly healthy children. Just you wait and see!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2Cor 1:3-4