| Working with any child is a blessing
and a great honor—no matter what their challenges
may be. Our child facilitators share below their experience
of working and playing with the children that come to
our Son-Rise Program® Intensive:
Magic, and Learning to Fly
"Slightly out of breath, I am standing with my
right foot forward holding a serving spoon in my right
hand, watching 2 small feet out of the corner of my
eye. Anticipating his next step, I am poised and ready
to fly with this sweet boy to the other side of the
playroom. The moment his feet move, mine do. too—right,
then left, then right, then left. Side by side we
hold our spoons in front of us blowing air through
our slightly open lips, until our hands touch the
opposite wall. Continuing to move in synchronicity,
we both turn to face the wall we just came from. I
am bent down low in case he looks my way, because
I want this boy to see me loving him. His eyes move
past me, and he focuses on some mysterious spot across
the room. I also look to the opposite wall, smiling
as I notice the silence and stillness in the room,
and I await his next move.
"I am honored that this little guy let me into
his unique world of spoons, sounds, rhythm and movement.
In those moments, nothing in my world mattered except
my desire to be close to him. I felt deeply connected
to this boy as I filled myself with a passionate love
for him, and for what it is that he loves. I believe
his life will forever be different because of the
time we spent together.
"This is just one description of the magic I
experience every day. I change children's lives by
opening my heart to them and diving into their worlds.
Each time I emerge from the playroom, I am inspired
and awed by the wonder of how good it feels to be
loving—wholeheartedly, without expecting anything
"In order to open my heart in this way, I have
dramatically changed who I am and how I move in the
world. Soon after I began my training at The Option
Institute, I realized that to help the children I
wanted to help, I first had to profoundly help myself
as a way to more fully open my heart to the children.
"In my learning adventure, I have questioned
how I think, how I motivate myself, how I learn and
how I treat myself. I have let go of fears I have
become more confident, more passionate, more aware
of what I want for myself and, most importantly, more
accepting of who I am. I am blessed, not only to help
the children who come here each week, but for who
I have become in the process of learning to help them.
"When I walk through the door to the playroom,
I enter a paradise in which I believe in my capacity
to open my heart in a deep and meaningful way. Spinning
in circles; reciting lines from Thomas the Tank;
flipping through the pages of a book; watching bubbles
fall through the air; lining up blocks; dancing in
front of the mirror; giving tickles, squeezes and
rides on my back; singing; laughing hysterically;
celebrating wildly; wanting passionately; listening
curiously; joining intensely; seeing an entire universe
in one moment, with one child."
Loving, Accepting and Celebrating
"I want to describe for you the depth of gratitude
and honor I feel for training as a child facilitator
in The Son-Rise Program®,
for touching the lives of special children every day,
for being touched by the lives of special children
every day. Every day I go home with a sense of being
one with the world, a sense that I have given and
received bountifully. It amazes me that I feel constantly
turned on to how I can make my love deeper, my acceptance
purer, my creativity wilder and my contribution greater.
"I feel like the whole world is at my fingertips.
Where before my life felt so unintentional, now I
am learning how and what it means to be a Force of
Nature™. Before, I felt like an adult around
children—you know, unplayful, cautious, serious.
Now, I am clear in my purpose to be each child's funniest
and best friend. Before, I kept my distance and judged
most children if they kept their distance from me.
Now, I am strong in my conviction to love, accept
and celebrate every child I meet. As I do, I love,
accept and celebrate myself more.
"I am learning to be daring in going for what
I want and what I believe, where before i gave up
rather easily. I am learning that persistence means
doing it all again and again and again—with
the same purpose, same conviction, same daring and
same passion each and every time. I am learning to
give myself fully, to love without bounds or judgment.
I am learning that I make a difference. I giggle just
at the thought of these words, because I always dreamed
of saying them and never thought I would.
"My teachers range in age from 2 1/2 to 56 and
each comes with a wealth of knowing beyond imagination.
My formal, older teachers are kind, powerful, loving,
supportive, creative models of love and acceptance.
My informal, younger teachers are the most precious
people on earth. They teach me that the greatest gift
I can give any living creature, including myself,
is respect, love and acceptance. They teach me that
I am my own best expert and they are theirs. They
teach me how to listen with a fine ear and be present
with all my senses. They teach me how to be grateful
for the most 'banal' events and how to let go of outcomes
and expectations. They teach me there are no mistakes.
They teach me I am the luckiest person alive: I have
the privilege of working with them.
"There is not one day I don't thank the universe
for the privilege of being a part of The Option Institute,
The Son-Rise Program®
and the lives of all these special children. I feel
Learning the Power of Love
"Recently, I was scheduled for the last session
of the week with one of the children. I went to the
observation room a few minutes early to see what game
the child facilitator and this little guy were playing
and what words they were working on. As I watched
them blowing streams of bubbles together, I thought
about this boy going home, back to his life. I realized
that there were so many aspects of his future about
which I did not know. I did know, however, that I
had the chance to love and accept him for the next
hour—and that might be the last time in his
life that he is loved to the extent that I can do
it. I walked into the playroom, determined that my
love for him would ooze out of my pores—so he
could feel my delight in him and take it with him
wherever he went.
"I spent the next hour doing just that. Every
time he looked in my eyes, I felt tingling all over
my body. When he tried to say a word, I wanted to
shout from the roof tops. And as we sat there, staring
at the wall, I felt a deep, profound connection with
him—I was simply with my best friend. I felt
my love for him shining through my eyes. There was
no way this little guy didn't know he was loved.
"It was one of the best hours of my life. Opening
my heart so boundlessly to this child felt extraordinary.
I've learned that confidence through Son-Rise training.
At different points in my training, I've questioned
my capability to help these children. I've thought,
'Who am I to believe I can change someone's life?'
But what is so tremendous about The Son-Rise
Program® is its fundamental belief
that love matters and is most important. And I've
come to trust that, to believe that love is the best
way to help the children. I now walk into that playroom
with the strong conviction that my love and my acceptance
make a difference. What a feeling it is to believe
that, to know that I can show children they are perfect
and wonderful exactly how they are. I have the best
job on the planet!
"It's been phenomenal to witness the substantial
ways that love affects these children. One time, I
was with a boy who rarely made any kind of contact
with people. He was lying on the floor, wanting nothing
to do with me. So I lay down on the other side of
the room and focused on loving the tiny person staring
at the ceiling. Three minutes later, he got up, came
over to me, took my hand and soon we were playing
a game together, hysterically laughing, which his
parents said he never does. Life does not get any
better than that.
"So, thank you for helping me to learn the power
of love. Not only am I believing in it more and more
as a way to help these amazing children, but also,
I am turning it more and more on myself. I love myself
more now than I ever have. Last week, I was driving
in my car with the music blasting, singing at the
top of my lungs, and I just started laughing at how
cute I was. I'm learning to take myself much less
seriously and to revel in my idiosyncrasies.
"These children have taught me that anything
is possible. Every day, they perform miracles. One
little boy came to us seeming not to understand the
power of language—that by speaking, he could
get what he wanted. That week he looked directly in
my eyes and said, clear as a bell, 'eat'. I know that
part of the reason the children grow in such leaps
and bounds is because I love them and I believe in
"My training at The Option Institute has been
the most meaningful, challenging, outrageous, turbulent,
in-your-face, fun-filled experience of my life. I
feel honored to be at the Institute, to be a part
of this mission, and most of all, to spend time with
those beautiful children and all those who come asking
for our help."