“Some adults and children on the Spectrum or not may give off the feeling that they don’t want to interact. I believe that’s because when they tried to interact like my friend just did, they were discouraged. Instead of focusing on our differences, let’s focus on the fact that we all want to be part of a community.”
As a care-giver for my grandmother, I spend a great deal of time speaking with her. When sharing a lot of time with any elderly person, we can sometimes grow impatient. I sometimes lose patience when I hear repeated questions about trivial things, or questions about my past that aren’t relevant to my life now. But one day, in a conversation with my grandmother, she apologized for not knowing what to speak about.
“I just never know what to talk about with you.”
While rereading the Grow Yoga manual, I remembered a video I saw online. In the video, a special education teacher speaks about a behavior he initially found ‘mind boggling.’ One of his students was asking him questions to which he already knew the answer.
But why was the student asking these questions?
The teacher realized that the student was trying to connect in a way that he knew how. The teacher did not discourage the behavior, though; rather, not only did he continue the conversation but he also celebrated his student’s communicative efforts.
From classroom setup to class structure and formation, Grow Yoga seeks to create community with the other students in the class. Community and connection are the focus of each class at Sangha Space. Teachers and other staff read and discuss often about how we can create a space that invites people to feel included and communal. How do we maintain the flow of class, and an inclusive class, when faced with the stubborn, the quiet, the vocally inquisitive, the impatient, the frustrated, and the dejected?
In our careers, movement practices, and relationships, we must exercise patience with ourselves and others. Whether others’ intentions seem malicious, misinformed, impatient, or apathetic, each communication we share can open a world of possibility. Every person can benefit from time, attention, and kindness as we revere each invitation for connection brought through communication. And each communication not only invites us to connect with another person, but can also reveal unto ourselves the sort of person we are in how we choose to respond.
The next time an impatient customer, an unruly student, unkind words from a loved one, or even unkind self-dialogue threatens our emotional stability, remember patience. Communication is an art, and the more we communicate, the more we can contribute to creating a greater community.
“Grandmom, no worries—I enjoy speaking with you. Thank you.”
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Inspired by Pamela Lee and Lori Coyle’s Grow Yoga training manual and a video by ‘Special Books by Special Kids’