As a consultant, sometimes I have the chance to train professionals and family members. I speak to them of the potential damage of the so-called "safety-net" of the system. When I taught my kids to ride bicycles, I held on to the back of the bicycle and ran along side with them. Eventually, I let go. I'm sure my kids fell to the ground many times before learning to ride. AMI members claim that they love their "ADULT" children so much that they don't want them to fall. The system assists in this effort by creating "safety-net's" of various sorts including intensive case management where someone may come to the door every day and hand a person their medications to assure they comply.
I, on the other hand, claim that this is not love. It is abuse. It denies a person the opportunity of ever achieving freedom. If I were to hold on to the back of my children's bicycle seats forever, it would not be love or fear that they might skin their knee or even crack open their skulls. It would be abuse and it would deprive them of the freedom of riding free with the wind blowing through their hair and growing-up.
I think that all of us learn through our mistakes. I've been "placed" on a job by Department of Rehabilitation and when things didn't work out, it was labeled a "failed work experience." I don't see it as a failure. I have learned and grown through every experience I've had and, if a job and I were not compatible for whatever reason, I learned something from the experience. I think it nearly borders on criminal the way we are upheld to a higher standard than the rest of society and not allowed the freedom to grow and learn and to experience mistakes.
All too often, we are blamed when in fact, it is the fault of professionals who either don't/won't let go or are lacking in the creativity and imagination to provide us with assistance which isn't smothering or oppressive. To make this point when I'm training professionals, I use many tools including handout materials and overheads. The following is one of many of the handouts I use. I thought I'd share this with you all and I hope you enjoy it. It seems to actually have been effective in reaching a few professionals and family members over the years.
_________________________________________________________________________ LETTING GO * To let go doesn't mean to stop caring, it means I can't do it for someone else. * To let go is not to cut myself off, it's the realization that I can't control another. * To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences. * To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands. * To let go is not to change or blame another, I can only change myself. * To let go is not to care for, but to care about. * To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive. * To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being. * To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to effect their own outcomes. * To let go is not to be protectve, it is to permit another to face reality. * To let go is not to deny, but to accept. * To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them. * To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to become what I dream I can be. * To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future. * To let go is to fear less and love more.