Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Princess Bride and Autism

I found this awesome list of 17 Things The Princess Bride Taught Me About Autism and I had to share it because I love both The Princess Bride and my boys.  :)

A few thoughts on some of my favourites:

1. Affection doesn't have to mean saying I love you. 

In the movie, "as you wish" means "I love you", letting Wesley express his love for Buttercup by acquiescing to her unreasonable demands.  I often find myself having to follow through with demands that I see as "unreasonable" from my boys. (Do you really need to have your pasta served in the white bowl with the blue rim instead of the gray rim?)  But because I love them, I do it anyway.  Because making their lives a little bit more tolerable or seeing the smiles on their faces makes up for my inconvenience.

3. Having a target will help you stay focused.

The list talks about Inigo's search for the 6 fingered man who killed his father.  How he prioritized, worked out which goals he could tackle and then pursued them with everything he's got.  I would also add: be unbelievably stubborn.  Inigo pursued revenge for 20 years.  I can tackle tying shoes over a few months.

4. You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.

Trust the experts you're working with (particularly if one of them is Billy Crystal).  Anyone promising instant results is lying.  Treating autism takes time (just like bringing someone back from the mostly dead) but the long term results can be just as amazing.

6.  Never start a land war in Asia.

Excellent advice that I use in my own life almost daily.  One could also reframe it as "Don't take away the iPad from a kid on the verge of meltdown."

10.  You may already have a wheelbarrow.

You might also have a Holocaust cloak.  Figuring out how to use what you have creatively is three quarters of the battle.  Sometimes something you thought was useless can be the key to unlocking everything.  Like the dad in Life, Animated who used his son's echolalic Disney quotes to break the communication barrier.

12.  Sometimes words don't mean what you think they mean.

"Dancing Pencils" in Alex-speak translates to "Madonna concert" in English.  I think the example speaks for itself.

I would add a few of my own extrapolated lessons:

Life is pain, Highness.  Anyone who says differently is selling something.

Life is pain.  It's also ecstatic, horrible, boring, thrilling and every other adjective you can throw at someone.  Accept the pain but remember the joy.  Buttercup was willing to throw herself down a steep-sided ravine on the barest chance that the Man In Black was Wesley.  One has to take chances in order to get anywhere.  But remember that anyone promising a smooth ride is selling something, guaranteed.

Chocolate coating makes it go down easier.

In life as in magic pills, a little sweetness makes everything easier.  Even when I'm so frustrated I'm ready to scream, I try to remember to smile and be pleasant.  And when there are days I am in dire need of a vacation, chocolate has always been my drug of choice.

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