Video Meditation

“That’s right!  After another red apple, another green bean, comes another yellow pepper!  That means you’ve answered all 1-2-3-4-5-6 questions.  Congratulations!”

I just wrote that from memory.  It’s a quote from the game show host on a Sesame Street video after Elmo and Zoe complete the quiz.  Zach likes to play this little segment of the video over and over again.  Sometimes he has me count along with the video.  Over and over and over again we count.  Until all of a sudden he is done and he pushes me away.  I’m not sure if there’s a set number of times we have to go through it.  I keep meaning to keep count but then I forget.

But I don’t forget the words of that game show host.  They’ve been run through my mind too many times.  And then it hit me that this is what God wants us to do with his Word.  Joshua 1:8 (NIV) says, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.”  God commands us to meditate on his Word the same way Zach meditates on his videos.

Meditating on God’s Word means reading it over and over again, turning it over and over in your mind.  Unlike eastern meditation that tries to empty the mind, biblical meditation means to fill the mind with the Scriptures.  It is doing just what Zach loves to do with his videos—replaying them again and again and again, studying every little detail so that he knows it inside and out.

When you do this you become aware of little nuances and details that were overlooked before.  Take the end of the movie Monsters, Inc. for example.  Sully the monster finally returns his friend, the little girl he nicknamed “Boo” to her room.  She immediately begins bringing some of her favorite toys to show him.  She brings him a Nemo toy from Finding Nemo and a Jessie doll from Toy Story 2.  I did not notice that the first time I saw the movie.  I didn’t notice it the second or third time either.  But on the umpteenth viewing of this scene while sitting with Zach I noticed these interesting little details the artists put into the story.  They didn’t have to do it.  But this attention to detail is what makes these Disney films so good.

And God is even better than the Pixar artists.  When we meditate on God’s Word we are sure to see things and understand truths on the twentieth reading that never occurred to us the first time we saw it.  I am challenged to meditate on the Scriptures with the same intensity as my boy.

Still Waters

There’s an old saying that “still waters run deep.”  Being non-verbal, Zach’s “waters” are very still.  But I know there is a lot going on inside him.

Webster’s Dictionary lists one of the meanings of the word “dumb” as “lacking the ability to speak.”  They also note that this is often an offensive term.  I completely agree.  I think this usage of the word should be abandoned.  While Zach is currently lacking the ability to speak, he is most definitely NOT dumb.

We mistakenly assume that since a person cannot express their thoughts they must not have them.  Here’s a little excerpt from a blog I saw that demonstrates once again that this idea is false. 

A year and a half later, Hannah sits with her tutor at a small computer desk in her suburban home outside New York City. Facilitated communication is controversial (critics complain that it’s often the facilitator who is really communicating), but it has clearly turned Hannah’s life around. Since her breakthrough, she no longer spends much of her day watching Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues. Instead, she is working her way through high school biology, algebra and ancient history. “It became obvious fairly quickly that she already knew a lot besides how to read,” says her tutor, Tonette Jacob.

During the silent years, it seems, Hannah was soaking up vast storehouses of information. The girl without language had an extensive vocabulary, a sense of humor and some unusual gifts. One day, when Jacob presented her with a page of 30 or so math problems, Hannah took one look, then typed all 30 answers. Stunned, Jacob asked, “Do you have a photographic memory?” Hannah typed “Yes.”

http://wecareautism.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/inside-the-autistic-mind/

Before I am corrected by Sheldon Cooper I will acknowledge the semantic error.  She does not have a “photographic memory” but an eidetic memory.

This story illustrates what I know to be true of Zach also, that he is “soaking up vast storehouses of information.”  He doesn’t seem to pay attention to what is going on around him and then, all of a sudden, he begins clearing his dishes off the dinner table.  Unfortunately, he initially cleared them into the trash.  But with a little redirection he now very dutifully takes his dishes to the sink.

He also used to leave his empty water bottles just lying around.  Then, quite unexpectedly, he started throwing them away.  But there might be a current of sibling rivalry motivating this behavior.  Its genesis coincided with his brother’s push to recycle.  The recycling messages on PBS worked on Micah.  He has gotten excited about it so we have given him the job of collecting all the bottles for recycling.  This has led to the Bottle Wars as Zach goes to throw his empty (and sometimes not so empty) in the trash can and Micah is horrified and tries to rescue it to put in the recycling bin.

Just like Hannah, Zach loves Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues as well as many others.  He has quite a collection of DVD’s we have accumulated over the years.  And he seems to have them all catalogued in his brain.  He will look through the DVD’s and then go find the picture (PEC, Picture Exchange Communication) of the show he is looking for and give it to me.  Sure enough, the one he wants is not in the pile.  It is usually one that got so old and scratched that it no longer played and we got rid of it.  But Zach still remembers it and can recall it out of nowhere.  Still waters, indeed.

Still Waters

There’s an old saying that “still waters run deep.”  Being non-verbal, Zach’s “waters” are very still.  But I know there is a lot going on inside him.

Webster’s Dictionary lists one of the meanings of the word “dumb” as “lacking the ability to speak.”  They also note that this is often an offensive term.  I completely agree.  I think this usage of the word should be abandoned.  While Zach is currently lacking the ability to speak, he is most definitely NOT dumb.

We mistakenly assume that since a person cannot express their thoughts they must not have them.  Here’s a little excerpt from a blog I saw that demonstrates once again that this idea is false. 

A year and a half later, Hannah sits with her tutor at a small computer desk in her suburban home outside New York City. Facilitated communication is controversial (critics complain that it’s often the facilitator who is really communicating), but it has clearly turned Hannah’s life around. Since her breakthrough, she no longer spends much of her day watching Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues. Instead, she is working her way through high school biology, algebra and ancient history. “It became obvious fairly quickly that she already knew a lot besides how to read,” says her tutor, Tonette Jacob.

During the silent years, it seems, Hannah was soaking up vast storehouses of information. The girl without language had an extensive vocabulary, a sense of humor and some unusual gifts. One day, when Jacob presented her with a page of 30 or so math problems, Hannah took one look, then typed all 30 answers. Stunned, Jacob asked, “Do you have a photographic memory?” Hannah typed “Yes.”

http://wecareautism.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/inside-the-autistic-mind/

Before I am corrected by Sheldon Cooper I will acknowledge the semantic error.  She does not have a “photographic memory” but an eidetic memory.

This story illustrates what I know to be true of Zach also, that he is “soaking up vast storehouses of information.”  He doesn’t seem to pay attention to what is going on around him and then, all of a sudden, he begins clearing his dishes off the dinner table.  Unfortunately, he initially cleared them into the trash.  But with a little redirection he now very dutifully takes his dishes to the sink.

He also used to leave his empty water bottles just lying around.  Then, quite unexpectedly, he started throwing them away.  But there might be a current of sibling rivalry motivating this behavior.  Its genesis coincided with his brother’s push to recycle.  The recycling messages on PBS worked on Micah.  He has gotten excited about it so we have given him the job of collecting all the bottles for recycling.  This has led to the Bottle Wars as Zach goes to throw his empty (and sometimes not so empty) in the trash can and Micah is horrified and tries to rescue it to put in the recycling bin.

Just like Hannah, Zach loves Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues as well as many others.  He has quite a collection of DVD’s we have accumulated over the years.  And he seems to have them all catalogued in his brain.  He will look through the DVD’s and then go find the picture (PEC, Picture Exchange Communication) of the show he is looking for and give it to me.  Sure enough, the one he wants is not in the pile.  It is usually one that got so old and scratched that it no longer played and we got rid of it.  But Zach still remembers it and can recall it out of nowhere.  Still waters, indeed.