It’s a crisp Sunday morning. We decided it would be a perfect day to visit the local apple orchard. This was a first time experience for me, and would be for my boys, as well.
My oldest, Zach, and youngest, Connor (neither of whom are interested in how healthy food tastes), opted out of our adventure. My middle son, Aidan, however, couldn’t have been more excited. What was intended to be a family outing became even more special.
As parents, we often make an effort to carve out quality time in our overscheduled lives. Cathy and I hoped that, today, we could carve out a piece large enough for everyone. Alas, only Aidan was hungry for it. As it turns out, that made the time so much sweeter.
Aidan was smiling from ear to ear, as he contemplated the unique opportunity of having Cathy and me all to himself. He didn’t have his brothers poking at him or whining about when we’d be going home. He just had one shared experience after another with each of us.
There were so many wonderful moments, as we explored the orchard together; moments it was much easier to give my full attention to, because it was just us.
We spent time reaching for apples, as high as we could, and twisting as we were instructed, until the apples came off, as not to damage the tree.Then, I discovered that if the apple was ripe, you could simply lift it gently from the bottom and it would pop right off the branch – no twisting required.
I called Aidan over and explained this discovery while demonstrating it. From then on, he was much more deliberate and gentle as he explored the trees for just the right apples, the ones that were ready to let go of the branches. Aidan would exclaim with excitement, ”Do you see that, it popped right off, that means it’s ripe.”
The lesson of the apple is like so many in life. So often all we need to give is a little nudge and when it’s ready to let go, it will.
Aidan began middle school this year. I was terrified that his short stature and shy disposition would be used against him. In the weeks leading up to the first day, Aidan spoke with great confidence, as he discussed how he was looking forward to starting school and making new friends.
At some point during the summer, my boy had found a new confidence and was ready to jump into middle school with both feet. All these weeks later, he continues to come home school and talk about his awesome day, his awesome teachers and his successes of the day.
As afraid as I was for him, there was a part of me that realized I needed to give Aidan room to trust himself, to step into his confidence without thrusting my anxieties upon him.
As it turns out, Aidan was ripe for middle school. Even though he’s stepped off the branch of last year he continues to grow and explore.
He continues to be one of my greatest teachers.
Is there anything you’ve had the courage to let go of lately?
Thanks for being you.
Brian R. King LCSW is a #1 Best Selling Author, 25-year cancer survivor, adult with Dyslexia, ADHD, and Asperger’s. He’s also the father of three sons on the autism spectrum. He is known worldwide for his books and highly engaging presentations that teach the power of connection and collaboration. His strategies empower others to overcome their differences so they can build powerful and lasting partnerships. His motto is: We’re all in this together.