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Two Different Smiles

February 9, 2018

Big smiles today from these two classmates,
for two very different reasons…


The girl on the left is smiling because she earned a trip to a pizza luncheon at the high school for getting straight A’s last semester. She works hard at everything she does. She wants to be the best that she can be. Excelling comes naturally to her, in just about every area of her life. We praise her often for her work ethic, her effort, and her drive toward excellence.

The boy on the right is smiling, but not because he earned a trip to the pizza luncheon at school. He’s smiling because his daddy surprised him by pulling him out of school so that he could get a pizza luncheon of his own, at his favorite restaurant. Why do that? Because he works hard, too. He’s so smart. He wants to be the best that he can be. But, his best efforts don’t always produce A’s. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. Last semester, they didn’t. And, when they didn’t, his self-confidence plummeted. He was bummed.

One of the downsides of having high-functioning autism is that he is highly aware of the ways that he seems to fall short…and highly aware of the ways that he can’t seem to measure up to those around him. It’s frustrating for him, to say the least. But, judging from the smile on his face at lunch today, there was very little disappointment and frustration inside of him. Only joy over the fact that he had been rewarded for his efforts.

When he’s out in the “real world” someday, I know he won’t always be rewarded for his efforts. He will be rewarded for his results, more often than not. And that’s fine. It is what it is.

But, that’s where family can step in. That’s where love can step in and say, “I know you. I know your struggles. I saw how you tried. I saw what you did. I loved seeing it, and here is your reward.”

Jackson heard love say that to him today, and it made his day.

It was pretty cool for us to see what just a little bit of love, and a whole lot of Chicago’s Pizza, can do in the heart and mind of a 9-year-old boy. Together, they can truly work wonders. 


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