My Brother’s Keeper

by Dr. Karen Colvin on April 18, 2014

in The Autism Times

images-1 I remember one day  picking up my daughter up from middle school and her brother, with autism, was in the back seat having one of his tantrums. As I let down the window to call her name everyone could hear his screaming. I could see the embarrassment on her face as her friend asked, “Is that your brother?”

Kristen did not answer her but just slumped into the car and we drove away. I tried to explain to Kristen that every family has issues to deal with, one of  ours is autism. I told her that the whole purpose of family is love. The beauty of Love is that is  grows and thrives in adversity. It shines within the challenges of life. I don’t know if she understood what I was saying that day but years later I realized she got it.

Kristen has grown into a compassionate, young woman with a sensitivity to others. This is something that cannot be taught in a classroom or through therapies – this is something that is learned as we walk through the valleys with the ones we love. Siblings of children with disabilities often have a hard course to walk. They have to choose over and over to embrace or deny their brother. I hope they learn what our family has learned that there is a secret gift from God in keeping your brother. It is called “compassion”. This beautiful gift tenders the heart for the rest of ones life.

Autism did not define our family but it did help develop it into something strong safe and precious . We learned what really mattered  and what was just fluff.

I believe in some ways the siblings of children with disabilities are chosen for this special training as it leads them to their great destinies. They have an insight into compassion that can help many others.

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