Monday, June 1, 2009

Contribute an Essay

"How do you do it?"

Have you been asked that question?

Many of us are accustomed to fielding the question, "How do you do it?" either from long-time friends in prayer or innocent bystanders in line at the pharmacy, in a clinic waiting room, after an IEP meeting, on the church patio or at a school assembly.

As many times as I've heard it, I have not formulated a very succinct response. Most often I stammer in a mixed emotional stew of flattery, embarrassment, pressure and humility. So much depends on who's asking. What is there interest? Do they have time for the answer? Is it personally relevant? Inquiring for a relative on the spectrum? Or are they just as tongue-tied in shock, dismay, and pity? Is it something nice to say when "Your kids are so well behaved" doesn't apply? A euphemistic alternative to, "what a little terror" or "what's up with your hair?"

What if we told them? What if some joyful moms like my fellow bloggers and friends at the Autism File photo shoot gave words to what's behind those beaming smiles? What if we printed your 500 words or less answers and distributed them to people who want to know? People who are in the same boat and need a paddle.

Here's your chance. Consider this a Request for Essay Submissions answering the question: "How do you do it (with a smile)?"

I will post selected entries here as guest posts. I will also choose 10 of the responses at a time and compile them into a simple, handmade book for distribution (5x7 staple bound).

Think of it as an over-sized, special interest tract that we will distribute at our fall Concert of Prayer, the Walk Now for Autism event in San Diego, and around town to those who ask!

If your essay is selected, you will receive a supply of booklets to distribute in your town at church, school, support group...and local pharmacy!! I also plan to make them available to Joni and Friends, The Gray Center and Future Horizons.

I better get busy on my response...and can't wait to read yours. NPR's This I Believe site offers some good essay writing tips. Feel free to forward this link to other moms, dads, or full-time caregivers you know who have a witness and like to write.

Contribute an Essay

How do you do it with a smile?

"It" = raise a child with special needs

500 words or less

Deadline: July 31

Please submit entries to

Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. Joel 1:2-4

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect
1 Peter 3:14-16

Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 1:30-31

photo credits:,


  1. What a lovely idea!
    And yes i am asked this question alot and like you am never quite sure what to say.

  2. Yes, this is a great idea. It will be fun to read the submissions (and, of course, I'll start working on one).

  3. I'm laughing at the 'I talk to strangers' image.

    Great question, great idea. Count me in.

  4. Thank you guys for being early responders!! Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

  5. Andrea -
    Cool idea! I most often get asked that when someone has witnessed my HUSBAND'S behavior, but I have had various experiences with two of my boys as well. I will give this some thought, listen to some more This I Believe, and give it a shot.
    Thinking of you: K is keeping me posted.