Friday, November 8, 2013

Getting Out There - Fun activities with friends

We don't know how much time that we have on this earth so I want to spend time with my loved ones and friends. In my life, while growing up with my sisters it was very hard for me to watch them go out with their friends.  I was someone with extra life challenges and I wanted so badly to be independent. This was one of the reasons it was easy for me to make up my mind to move out of my parents house into a group home when I turned 18.
I lived in a group home for approximately eleven years and I was able to go out with friends and have a life of my own. However, there were limitations.  At that time it meant that I was allowed to go out with friends but it was inconvenient because It was necessary to check with my parents and to get permission according to the rules of the home.  Although the group home was a good transition for me, It is better now that I live with my best friend.  There is ample opportunity to enjoy time with my family and friends but I have the freedom to choose when and how I spend my time.
Parents who have children with life challenges may think they are doing the right thing for them by sheltering them away from too much responsibility.  Maybe they believe their child can't handle the outside world. I believe the parents of a child with additional challenges needs to allow the person (whenever possible), the opportunity to experience their own life.
If we are at all able, we all need to go out and have a life for ourselves.  We all need to learn what it is to have freedom, to have some fun.  We cannot live our lives through someone else.  I have not been on the parent’s side of the equation but I think we are fortunate to be living in a country where there are supports available for persons with life challenges.  It is not perfect I know but we are lucky for sure.
Some parent’s may feel no one can look after their child better than they can.  I think some risks are worth taking because the result can mean the person may feel less challenged.  Being less dependent on my parents helped me to feel less challenged as a person.  I am grateful that my parents did the right thing by letting me be as independent as possible when I was a young woman. They supported my choice to move out and have my own life.  My parents will be here for me as long as they are able but I now have my own life and I am free to go out in the world without my family.  It is the right thing for me.
It is ok if parents do not want their child to move out on their own but it will be very difficult for a person with a life challenge to be independent if they always rely on their parents.
Bottom line is that we need freedom to explore our life and freedom to make the choice of how we spend our time and to act on the value we have for our family and friends?