Ain’t Nothing But a Number

A while back, we learned what our son’s IQ score was during an ARD meeting. (There are so many acronyms in my life now, I cannot keep up with them. ARD stands for A…RD)

And well.
It’s low. Koko the Gorilla had a higher IQ than my son. Which isn’t fair, because I think Koko is smarter than some of the adults I have had conversations with. You know… these past 2-3 years really exposed how … un-smart some folks are. The fact that people were blaming Joe Biden for rising gas prices (all over the world, mind you)… just shows that some of us have been out of school waaaaay too long.
And look. This wasn’t “surprising” news. It wasn’t unexpected.
I fully know that my son isn’t the smartest person in the world.

I mean the other week, I walked in the bathroom to check in on him only to see him with his electric toothbrush in his ear.
Yet. It still stung a little.
It’s one thing to know something, I guess and another to have it confirmed. Does that make sense?

I don’t ever expect Nathanael to be a “straight A” student.
I don’t even know if he’ll be able to attend college.
Hell. I don’t even know what high school will be like for him.
Really. Genuinely. Sincerely. I just want my son to be happy and content with life.
And I think he is.

He’s never gonna score high on standardized testing. Standardized testing doesn’t help him at all. I knew I always hated standardized tests, just that in this season of life, I actually have a reason.

His IQ score may reflect what… he “lacks” when it comes to standardized tests and book smart but in no way does it reflect on who he is and just how intelligent he truly is.

We are raising a good kid.
A kid who’s compassionate.
A kid who’s loving.
And a kid who’s filled with joy. I can’t help but come back to Father Boyle’s statement of joyful people are holy people.
All these thoughts are flooding through my head right now because I just finished editing the final chapter (Ch. 10) of my book — which is all about Nathanael and his zest for life.

But this kid… he’s something else. And I mean that in all the positive ways.
I aspire to embody my faith the way he simply lives.
He is my inspiration and my role model.
And he is not and will not be defined by what any standardized tests will say about him.

My barber and I share stories about our sons every time I go get a haircut from him. His son is also on the spectrum.
The last time I was there, he said “I can only say this to you, because I know that you would fully understand. I mean, sure, there are moments I would give anything and everything for my son to be… you know… normal or typical or whatever. But I tell you what, though… I wouldn’t want to change him at all. He’s so special; so unique; so loving;… just so awesome, there’s nothing I’d wanna change about him. You know what I’m getting at?”

Believe me, I do. And it’s not because you have scissors in your hands. But it’s because I get it. I feel that with every fiber of my being. There’s nothing I’d want to change about Nathanael. He truly is a God-given gift.

And I’m not just writing this because I made him cry before he went to bed because I hit him too hard while we were messing around. I mean, part of it is, for sure.

These scores are simply and nothing but numbers that do not and will not define the whole of who he is (or anyone is, for that matter).

Nathanael, you are God’s masterpiece and a gift to us all.

Here are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs Words, 2006 by Sho Baraka.

Yeah, maybe words don’t say much
Maybe we don’t need words to communicate our love
Maybe

All I wanted a perfect life
Some perfect kids and a perfect wife
Some perfect days and some perfect nights
Even though I’m flawed, I should be alright
A child with special needs didn’t fit in my plans
I’m a needy man, wanting more that what you put in his hands
All I wanted was a perfect family core
Now I’m envying the family next door
Trying not to trust therapy more than God
I am walking the street where fear and love collide
I am learning in weakness, you still gotta serve
And my connection with my boys is way deeper than words
But damn, words, I thrive with ’em
Words are my life, my career, I survive with ’em
I’m given a life sentence that words can’t fix
Now we both live in a world that don’t make sense

Yeah maybe words don’t say much
Maybe we don’t need words to communicate our love

My sons are not a punishment or an accident
Just a little abstract masterpiece of what the master did
I try not to doubt the power of prayer
But sometimes, I just feel like the power ain’t there
Some days I’m feeling good, some days I’m feeling torn
I’m getting praise for activities a father should perform
I get applause when I excel, thank you
Is there grace for me when I fail and I’m feeling shameful

Yeah, well maybe words don’t say much
Maybe we don’t need words to communicate our love

My father said he needed greater trust in the Lord
And the Lord used cancer so he could trust in Him more
He died without complaining, that’s when I understood
He taught me more in his silence, that a sermon ever could
Words can be lies to help us disguise our phoniness
Feeling insecure, in the midst of pride and loneliness
I learned the meaning of contentment really fast
Wanting change, while appreciating everything that you have

Yeah maybe words don’t say much
Maybe we don’t need words to communicate our love
Maybe words don’t say much
Maybe I should just learn to shut up

Only you know
Only you know
Oh oh oh
Only you know
Only you know
Oh oh oh

Truth is your presence speaks much louder than when a choir sings
I never knew I’ll find joy up in the smallest things
The counsellor said “Live long, love strong, stick together”
This is a thorny rose you two will carry forever
Find value in your interactions, and not in your treasure
Find strength in Jesus, increase your faith in good measure
Avoid evil, your kids need a home that is peaceful
Don’t be a passive man, understand that your family needs you
Pray for healing, hoping they find a cause
But after all, I resolved, you are not a problem to solve
Maybe I wouldn’t change you
Maybe I’m just unable to see your potential
Because I’m blinded by the labels

Yeah maybe words don’t say much
Maybe we don’t need words to communicate our love
Maybe words don’t say much

In that moment, we had a breakthrough
Silence, I want to thank you
In that moment, we had a breakthrough
Silence, I want to thank you

One thought on “Ain’t Nothing But a Number

  1. I have to disagree with you on one point. Y’all aren’t just raising a good kid, you are raising a GREAT kid. Just as blessed as you are to call him your son, N is truly blessed to call you and Rahel his parents. I love you guys!!!❤️❤️❤️

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