“Use what you’ve got on the inside to make the impact you want on the outside.” —Leonie H. Mattison
How did we get here? It’s been four months since the novel corona-virus pandemic struck. Around the globe, schools and businesses closed down, and people were made to shelter at home and stay inside because outside the door breathed death. To stay safe, many of us had to practice physical distancing by staying in seclusion in our homes. The longer I waited, the more unbearable it felt. It was painful! There were days when I found myself wrestling, reasoning, bargaining, and pleading with God to manifest healing in our world.
If you’re a working single parent like me, you may have had a considerable amount of new and different responsibilities to juggle while taking care of your family. On top of that, we’ve had to practice physical distancing, learn to home school our children, manage a remote workforce, and work from home as a mommy, teacher, nurse, chef, counselor, business leader, dog sitter, etc. We get no breaks, not even for a minute, to grieve the loss of loved ones to COVID-19 or process the racial tension brought on by recent incidents of racism, murder, and police brutality, including the inhumane murder of George Floyd. Being the sole caretaker during quarantine feels lonely and partially punishing because the ongoing lock down has altered everybody’s lifestyle
Image by David Horsey, Seattle Times cartoonist
Besides adapting to a different way of living and working, many families raising children with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) will agree that we need extra support and structure to manage our child’s attention and behavior challenges and keep them on track with learning. According to David Anderson, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, “a child with ADHD often doesn’t deal well with uncertainty, the long delay of gratification, and not knowing when the activities they will find more rewarding are going to occur.” I know firsthand what it’s like to raise a child with ADHD because my youngest daughter, J’Lyn, was diagnosed with ADHD at an early age.
J’Lyn is now a middle school teen, an animal and sports lover who struggles with her identity. Yet that did not stop her from thriving. From taking care of her pets to combing her hair, cooking for her family, and more, J’Lyn knows how to work with and evolve beyond her diagnosis. ADHD does not hold her back or define her! Although navigating through COVID-19 to the next normal has been challenging, I’ve discovered that supporting my children to build coping skills to help manage stress, anxiety, and anger in healthy ways is invaluable. In the process, my thirteen-year-old daughter became the first teen self-published author in our family’s history.
Here’s our story:
“Sometimes the slower you go, the faster you learn, and the longer the lessons learned last.” —Leonie H. Mattison
In March, J’Lyn asked for a pet lizard to help her cope with the COVID-19 crisis. To add an element of fun, I told J’Lyn to prepare and present a business case to support her request. She did! I approved her petition on one condition: she had to try to complete her book project this year. It took me ten years to find the courage to write and publish my memoir. My daughter surprised us by writing a mystery novel, Struck by a Lightning Bolt, and in less than ninety days, she became the first preteen self-published author in our family. This thrilling novel is a planned trilogy that weaves together stories, coloring books, video games, and more. While each narrative thread stands on its own, together they create a design that helps young readers welcome challenges and turn obstacles into opportunities.
A Six-Step Tool to Help You Achieve Intentional Transformation
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Mahatma Gandi
The steps we took and the questions we asked ourselves are listed below:
1. THOUGHT about the outcome we wanted to achieve, which was to self-publish a novel before the end of the summer and to inspire others to uncover and build inner strength.
- What outcome do I want to achieve?
- What does being a “published author” look like?
- What actions can I take to get there?
2. HARVESTED the lessons I learned from self-publishing my books in 2019 and used the experience to teach my daughter how to develop a plan to help manage her focus.
- What have I learned so far?
- How has it made me stronger?
- What can I use from my past to forge a new path forward?
3. RELEASED fear and anxiety about the corona-virus and what could happen by spending meaningful time together as a family engaged in things that we enjoyed.
- What do I need to let go of to become the person I want to be?
- What decisions must I live in?
- Am I living in the highest expression of my values and integrity?
4. ENLISTED support and services from friends, a coach, mentors, family members, a book editor, an illustrator, a video creator, and a web designer to help bring the project to life.
- Whom should I connect with?
- What resources are available? Therapists? Counselors? Friends? Teachers? A workshop? A book?
- What option works best for me?
5. ADOPTED a growth mindset for change and created a gratitude box used to guard our focus and track all the amazing things we were grateful for. Used affirmations to inspire our progress and purpose.
- What new habit do I want to start?
- What old habit do I want to break?
- How can I think differently?
6. DREAMED of a new self and aligned our actions with a tenacity to our purpose.
- What is the impact I really want to make?
- What is the first step I need to take?
- Then, take action.
In less than 90-days J’Lyn:
- Celebrated her thirteenth birthday and self-published her first novel.
- Got nominated to compete in the www.AllAuthor.com book cover of the month contest two weeks after publication.
- Launched her website and directed the creation of her published book trailer.
- Sold 76 copies of her book and earned royalty fees.
- Received #39 rating on Amazon’s Best Seller list.
- Scheduled to appear on several podcast shows to share her story.
- Started working with educators to create tools to help inspire young people to uncover their buried treasure.
- Created a plan to donate books to schools, libraries, hospitals, parents, and nonprofits to help inspire emerging authors.
J’Lyn’s achievements motivated me to continue my mission of helping others achieve intentional transformation.
Helping my daughter publish her first book has taught me perseverance, patience, and the healing power of community. Collaborating with my children has helped me focus on the importance of love, being present, and being purposeful. I am thankful for my family, friends, and supporters whose backing and affection helped J’Lyn fulfill her vision of writing a novel to help others uncover their buried treasure. J’Lyn has also inspired her sisters to re-enroll in college and start a hair- and skin-care business.
What this process has taught me is that I can’t undo the past, but I can rejoice in the present as I continue towards the future. I believe that eventually we will evolve beyond COVID-19 to the next new normal. When we get there, things will be different, and we too will be different because of what we’ve endured and overcome. This is not the end, but a pause to bend and adapt to change. As we wait, let’s consider this truth: Every breakthrough, every miracle, every promise fulfilled, every battle won, every strength gained, every growth achieved, every miracle received, every healing experienced—requires a wait.
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