Julie Keon author of the essay, What I Would Tell You, is back today. In yesterday’s post you learned Tim and Julie Keon’s special needs parenting story. Today, she explains how life changed after the essay went viral and she started her blog, www.whatiwouldtellyou.com.
Julie, what’s the history of your What I Would Tell You essay? When it went viral, how did your life change?
The essay What I Would Tell You felt like some sort of divine intervention. I saw the mother in the waiting lounge at our children’s hospital in late June of 2011 and I was so profoundly touched when our eyes met that the moment I was out of the building, I started to weep. The words of the essay started flowing into my mind. I could not wait to get home to write it all down. Hours later, I ran upstairs and opened a journal and scribbled the entire essay out in a matter of 30 minutes. I then posted it as a “Note” on Facebook. Within 24 hours, I was receiving messages from all over the world. My friend, who is also the father of a child with special needs, urged me to allow him to create a website as a home base for the essay so that more people could access it. The website was born and I started the blog portion of it in September of 2011.
What encouragement do you have for parents raising kids with a special needs diagnoses…other than your wise words in What I Would Tell You?
That’s a tough question as I think the essay covers everything. Perhaps, I would encourage them to have faith whether that be through their religious/ spiritual or universal beliefs. I hate to admit it, but I am starting to really surrender to the possibility that there really are no mistakes and that we all have a journey and purpose to live out even if that journey or experience makes absolutely no sense to our limited human mind. Having faith in something greater can be very comforting when things start to get really overwhelming.
What can churches, schools, friends, family, medical community do to better support parents of kids with special needs?
I think that there needs to be a genuine understanding that the parents really DO KNOW BEST when it comes to their children. There is a whole lot of talk about this, but I am not certain how many professionals really believe it. I think that when any individual or group makes an effort to ask questions and attempt to understand the real day-to-day experience of the family, then naturally they will offer support that is both effective and useful. Support must be given under the terms of the recipient as opposed to the giver assuming what the recipient needs…..if that makes sense.
What do you want to say that’s not been asked?
I would just like to say thank you for interviewing me, Jolene, and for the wonderful work that you do! I would also add that I am working hard on a book that I hope will be helpful to those who read it eventually. Thank you to everyone who has read and supported What I Would Tell You.
What Would You Like to Tell Julie?
Julie, you are most welcome. The pleasure was all mine! And when your book comes out, please send an update. I’d love to post a review and help publicize it.
How about the rest of you? What would you like to say to Julie? Leave a comment with your own thoughts and experiences or just to say thank you. And if haven’t het ready Julie Keon’s essay, What I Would Tell You, please stop by her website to read it!