We're Only Human

Undoubtedly, the most prominent theme of I See Red is the unconditional devotion of an extremely patient adult, towards an extremely difficult child. Zoe (26) is Dallas's (6) Behavior Specialist; a role that requires her support through a rough time in his young life. He kicks, screams, scratches, bites, and engages in extremely risky behaviors—so how the heck does Zoe stay so patient? Firstly, she's a fictional character, so she has that advantage. Secondly, when you read the book, you start to realize that she's not unlike you or me. Zoe has her limits—and so do we.

How can you love someone so incredibly unlovable? As I mentioned in the last post; love is a word with many different applications. For Zoe, love means showing up day after day, no matter what. For Dallas, love lives in consistency—he knows what to expect, and trusts that he'll receive the same outcome every time. It is an impossible, and unhealthy, expectation for adults to strive to affectionately feel 'love' for any child at all times, let alone a child with severe behavioral difficulties. We are only human, and should allow ourselves to feel a wide range of human emotions—with one caveat. You are responsible for how you react to your feelings.

The reason Zoe stands out as a character with a ridiculous amount of patience, is that she doesn't let her feelings lead the way. She knows that yelling at Dallas will not yield compliance, and will likely do the opposite. Children like Dallas are thrilled with big, emotional responses from adults—they find pleasure in overreactions, especially because they are receiving undivided attention from adults. When adults know how to regulate their emotions (at least most of the time), they're much less likely to say or do something damaging towards a child.

Zoe isn't perfect; but she's 'good enough' at being the person Dallas needs. She's an example of what we need to be 'good enough' parents and caregivers—the flexibility to stay connected in times of trouble, the willingness to forgive, the honesty to work through her raw emotions towards Dallas, and the ability to recognize her limits. Zoe isn't afraid to feel; but she's mindful about how she reacts.

** Chapter One of I SEE RED will be leaked right here, on this blog, on December 19! Don't miss out on updates! Subscribe today!**