Unbabbled Episode 13: A Parent's Perspective

A Parent's Perspective with Justin Keller

Developmental milestones, standardized tests and grade standards can all be great tools for parents to use as guides. However, every child is so much more than a score or answers on a test.
In this episode, Justin Keller discusses how having a child with developmental delays shifted his perspective on parenting and life in general. Justin shares how his son has changed him for the better, including being more present, accepting that his son has his own timeline, and finding the ever-elusive balance in parenting. We hope parents and educators alike will find Justin’s journey as a dad relatable.

About Justin

Justin Keller is a Houston-based brand strategist, author and current Parish School parent. He’s the founder of CircleFifty Creative and author of Rebel Brands and Human Always.

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Stephanie:                        00:05                   Hello and welcome to Unbabbled, a podcast that navigates the world of special education, communication delays and learning differences. We are your hosts, Stephanie Landis and Meredith Krimmel and we're certified speech language pathologist who spend our days at The Parish School in Houston, helping children find their voices and connect with the world around them. In this episode, guests, Justin Keller, discusses how having a child with developmental delays shifted his perspective both as a parent and on his life in general. Justin is a Houston based brand strategist, author and current parish school parent. Throughout the episode, he offers his experience on how his son has changed him for the better, including being more present, accepting that his son has his own timeline and finding the ever elusive balance in parenting. We hope parents and educators alike will find Justin's journey as a dad relatable. Today here with Justin Keller. Justin Keller is a parent of one of our students here at The Parish School and we're excited to hear his perspectives and ideas from the parenting side, which we haven't done yet. Yeah, so welcome Justin.

Justin:                                01:10                   Thanks for having me guys.

Stephanie:                        01:11                   We're so excited. Can you start off just by giving us a little bit about who you are and your journey through this part of Parenthood?

Justin:                                01:19                   Yeah. My son is now, he'll be five in just a couple of months, which is hard to believe. But, so this journey for us with London started when he was six months old. We were told that he might have NPS, which I had never heard of that. And they said it's a rare genetic disease that if he has it, he won't live to be two. I mean, the diagnosis was just terrible. And so we were fortunate. We had family that had great connections at Mayo Clinic. So we got him up to top neurologist and geneticists and started this journey of trying to figure out what if something going on at all, uh, with him and his development. And so there was never any answers that came from that. But the answer that you know, or the thing that we realized was his development was, you know, a little more delayed than whatever normal is, which no one is normal. No one has a set timeline. So that first of all was a big perspective shift for us, which was his timeline doesn't have to be the same as everyone else's or what a sheet says or chart says or a study says, you know, his timeline is his timeline. So we've just been on this journey for the last in a four and a half years, just basically not worrying about if there's something really going on. It's just what is, what do we need to do to get London to thrive and you know, set him up for success. So found The Parish School, we were recommended, pretty much told like he needs to come here and we're so glad he did. So it's been, that's been part of the journey so far.

Stephanie:                        02:51                   I really like the way you said that he's on his own timeline. Can you explain a little bit further about like your journey to come to accept being on his own timeline? Cause as a parent I also recognize my child is on their own timeline for certain things and that's been an area of struggle for me.

Justin:                                03:09                   Yeah. I would love to sound like I've mastered that understanding. Yeah, I think it's more of what you just said and acceptance of that versus a full understanding of that. And it took a long time. I mean it's probably been probably within the last two years, so probably the first couple of years were, you know, you feel that pressure of, is he where he needs to be? Is he doing it as well as he's supposed to be doing at something, you know, should he be walking by now? Should he be all of these different things? You, it's imp. It's pretty hard not to compare. You know, you're around another kid that's the same age and you see, you know, they're already sining the alphabet and they're 12 months old, you know, like what's going on here are our sons. We're just trying to get him to, you know, eat real food. So it took a long time. And, and even for his mom, and I know both of us have had that, uh, it's just been a process and it was liberating. So the moment that I started to realize like the, I don't know where I heard it or if someone said it, but whatever sparked it was just the idea of like, London is like perfect the way he is and he is supposed to be this way. He's, he is normal. Like he just has, he has to work harder is the way that I started to look at it was like, there was nothing wrong. He just has to work harder. So it wasn't a denial of it. It was just more of an acceptance of, okay, this means we've got to double down and you know, maybe more than others would. So, but realizing like his timeline is his timeline was just a huge weight off for myself at least to just realize there's no pressure, you know, there's, and it helps me not pressure him. I think that was probably the, as a parent we, I think we put a lot of unnecessary pressures on our kids, you know, be careful, be careful, you know, don't spill it, don't, yeah, we make mistakes and we do things wrong all the time. Even as adults. I still spill, you know? And so it was just liberating to let that go and, but it's still hard sometimes. So like I say, I don't want it to sound like it's something I've perfected. It's a process.

Meredith:                         05:23                   Yeah. I think it's important to remember every child is so different and our expectations are what we thought parenting would be, aren't always what they are. So you know, to hear another parent say I'm taking it day by day and really just evaluating my child for who they are as really important to hear.

Justin:                                05:42                   Yeah. The day by day. I think that's huge is if you can really just think like that. That has helped me for sure. What's the next step? What's the next instead of, you know, is he going to get into this college? Is he going to be able to do this. He's gonna be able to do that. Like cause everything that we thought he wouldn't be able to do in time, he's been able to do like it's, it's pretty, it's pretty wild when you're told, you know, he might not walk. Okay, now we can't stop him from running around. You know, he, he will maybe struggle with something that all of a sudden he's not struggling with anymore. You know, so it, I just think you give it time, day at a time, next action step and let them surprise you.

Meredith:                         06:21                   I thought it was interesting that you said like it didn't matter the diagnosis or what was going on, you just wanted to figure out how to help him. And I think a lot of times parents, we get hung up on a name for it or what is it or what is the reason? And sometimes like you said, it's important just to let that go and just focus on how you can help your child be the best that they can be.

Justin:                                06:43                   Yeah, I can't speak for everyone because there's probably, there are times a diagnosis is exactly what you have to have a name is what you have to have to know what to do. Yeah, yeah. It's the logistics of it. Yeah.

Justin:                                06:56                   Which yeah, we wanted to go there. So I can't speak for like, I just, I just know for me personally, at least if it had an aim, I just think it's a disadvantage even for, you know, to get caught. I'd get caught up in that probably maybe even justify, you know, what he shouldn't be doing or should do based on that. And I think it's, it's more, it's just opened up the door to curiosity of like one wonder what's gonna happen when he's going to love, like what's he going to do, what's, where's his strengths going to be? And instead of, you know, putting a limit on something because of a diagnosis.

Meredith:                         07:31                   Yeah. Cause even children with a diagnosis or different within that diagnosis.

Stephanie:                        07:34                   Yeah. I mean it helps you see that child as their own person in that child instead of as a label.

Justin:                                07:41                   Yeah. You, you nailed it though. That's the thing I realized through all of this was one, I was blind to even what rare, you know, things are out there that can cause learning differences and, and challenges for kids. I was blind to it. You just think you have a baby and everything's going to be just, you know, not easy street, but you don't predict some of the things that a lot of the parents here have had to overcome. And so it, it, I learned though through it all that even the same thing, there's different outcomes for each kid. And so you're right about the diagnosis, you know, for action steps. Yes. But for a predictability factor of what that is going to do. No.

Stephanie:                        08:23                   Yeah. Even having a label doesn't give you that crystal ball into what their future's going to look like. Yeah.

Meredith:                         08:29                   Yeah. How often do we hear that? My child was told they would never blank and then they did it, you know? So it's just, it's, it's not always going to help you see the trajectory that your child is on.

Justin:                                08:40                   Yeah. I just have seen, you know, and you see the stories where you hear people who have had everything going against them and, and have accomplished so much. And so I just think, to me, I don't even see it any differently. You know, like I, I'm very careful not to deny what's going on with him, but I'm very careful to like, I don't elevate it because it might not even impact anything he does in his life. You know, he might overcome all of that. And, or even if my son couldn't talk, it doesn't mean that he, which he can talk and he's learning how to talk very well here. Thanks to the amazing people here and his speech therapists and the hard work that he puts in to to do that. But even if he couldn't, I would just, you know, maybe he would end up being a soccer player, never asked to use his words, you know, just use his legs or guitar player. And so I just think it's just an interesting it, we put a lot of limits on, on us and others, you know, that are unnecessary probably.

Meredith:                         09:38                   I found your blog post on competitive dads really interesting and I connected with it a lot actually. What inspired you to write that?

Justin:                                09:47                   So the, the gist of the blog post is basically challenging the mentality that we often have as parents. Just when we're around these other kids, like my son, he should be doing this, should be this fast, should be hitting this many home runs in a baseball season or whatnot. And you see it like crazy anywhere, you know, baseball, basketball doesn't matter. But we were, you know, one of the things that I have done in a, in this season was decided to just start immersing him in different things. One of them was swimming and so get him into swimming lessons mainly so I can just sit by the pool and relax but getting him into swimming lessons. I'm sitting there and I'm watching like these parents get upset basically cause their kids aren't getting pushed hard enough or fast enough, you know, to do more. And I'm just enjoying like I didn't think London would be able to swim ever. So like I've just, I don't have my phone out, I'm not doing any work and I'm just enjoying watching. Oh wow. He went underwater today for the first time. I'm like, that's something I didn't keep. You do or you know, he, anything he did, it was something that I didn't think he was going to do. And so I was just always there at swimming, just enjoying watching just the little progress. I mean crawling, doing the monkey crawl or whatever on the on the side. When he finally did that, when he finally got out. But then these parents are like encourage telling their kids like you got try hard or you got to do more. And I'm just, I thought it was pretty ridiculous because I probably would have been that parent had we not been given this, you know, circumstances and where we had to look, you know, London set the pace instead of us trying to push the pace for him. So in a lot of ways that's the hardship has been a luxury cause it gave me the chance to realize like London's gonna do this in his time, which he does anyway. That's his personality. So it worked out just fine. But it just really made me question, you know, how much pressure we put on our kids and these dads that put this pressure on their kids at baseball or whatnot. So that's what the blog post was about. For me it was just we rob ourselves of being present when we are obsessed with adding pressure to our kids or to the outcome and expectations that we have on them. So I just, that's kind of what inspired that.

Stephanie:                        12:07                   It is really interesting that you, you said it was freeing because I've been also, my children have done sports, even just soccer shots and my son started at two and he's two so I'm just excited that he's out there. Even just like staying on the soccer field instead of running away to the playground equipment. And there are levels of, of parents there that are, you know, taking it as a break and thinking, Oh goodness, they're just getting their energy out on the soccer field. And then the parents that are like, don't use your hands. Don't use your hands, kick, kick, don't use your hands. And it's hard probably for them as parents because at times I feel the same thing not to see your children's success or what they feel is success or lack of success or progress or lack of progress in even just things like soccer as a reflection of yourself. And it's something that, it's hard to remember that like what they're doing is not a reflection of me or my parenting and it's not even really a reflection of them as a person. It's just one little area and they'll get there in their own time or maybe that's not their area of strength and we'd go find something else. And personally I in the family, I'm the one that's competitive and my husband's the one that's always reminding me that they're their own person. They'll do it at this time or we'll leave a social interaction and I'll feel bad because somebody else's kid potty trained first. And then I have to remember like nobody ever got rejected from college because they didn't potty train by a certain time and just let it go and be like, okay, well this is where my child's at now and we'll get there eventually. Hopefully we'll continue to get to the point where it is. It is freeing to not feel that pressure or that negativity after attending things that should be fun.

Justin:                                13:54                   Yeah. I mean look, I played sports, you know, so and I was, yeah, I've really enjoyed sports. I have two older brothers so I had no choice but to be competitive it growing up. So it's not like I'm just a passive dad at all and I still, I still put my, you know, some pressure on London to push himself harder with things. So it's not about being, you know, it's not passivity and, and just relaxing saying they don't have to try hard. It's just knowing when the moment matters and when it doesn't matter and trying to learn that is like, okay, does today one soccer practice matter? You know, he's maybe a little sick, he's a little off this. Let them, you know, just sit on the ball today, you know, but the next day he's feeling great. Maybe a little more pressure on buddy, get up, here's what we do. So it's just kinda, I don't know, not, not thinking every moment is as you know, monumental, uh, toward the end for himself.

Meredith:                         14:52                   And a balance of challenging and pushing and laying back and hands off a little bit when you need. That's hard as a parent. I think finding that balance.

Justin:                                15:00                   How do you find that balance?

Meredith:                         15:02                   It's hard.

Stephanie:                        15:04                   Yeah. No, but when we find somebody who knows, we'll have them come tell us all.

Justin:                                15:09                   I've been thinking about that a lot just because, well first of all the word balance is interesting and if we think of it in a season being balanced, like it's, I think balance is impossible. So it's, it's interesting you say that cause I feel like that is, there could be three weeks of like added pressure is necessary for something and relaxed maybe for a little bit. That could be, you know, a week of, there's not pressure on the food to eat this or like we've had to learn that with eating. Um, it's like, okay, let's just relax like this for the next two weeks. Let's pull back on trying to reduce, try, stop introducing new foods. Like we've had to do that and try to figure out that balance of like push or,

Meredith:                         15:48                   But the balance always changes. Yeah. What worked one month or one week or won't work the next month. I mean kids are ever changing so your balance is always changing, right?

Justin:                                15:59                   Yeah. They, they, they have a way of um, keeping us uncomfortable.

Meredith:                         16:03                   Definitely. Definitely.

Stephanie:                        16:07                   I am thinking back and you said that thinking about what is important and pushing them there and is this important, is it not things that you found important? It seems like you have then had him come to the challenge, so like in school and the speech, and making sure that yes, for those things, he will do it as in time. But you also, we're seeking out support as early intervention as possible. Can you tell us a bit about your journey to get to early intervention?

Justin:                                16:36                   Yeah. So when we were, we had him at as a school that he loved and it was a lot easier, way closer to drive for us and, and he loved it. So we had them there, but it, it was just, it was strongly encouraged to us that if we can get him over here, he would have been, so he's four so he, this is his second full year here. So if they just basically laid out a real clear path for us saying these next couple of years actually really critical years in development and um, this intervention now, you know, is probably critical for him. And so that it was, it was kind of left to us to obviously decide on her own, but it was very clear and made clear to us that like this is a window of time that we won't get back once he hits five. Even then he can still overcome all of this. But it does put more on him. It's harder just developmental wise. So I don't know a lot about that. My, you know, personally I've tried to learn a little bit, but it was just the advice that, I mean we have had great people around. And so one of the things that helps though here is how fun. Everything's so you about him working hard. Like it's fun and so he loves coming here. You mean he did the day day one that he walked in here. So the way that you are able to get them to work hard through fun and it is, it's pretty special cause that's, it's either just a daycare for kids, you know, a glorified daycare, daycare. But the way these kids get to have so much fun and actually learned, I mean he's, I don't think he knows he's working on it. Right.

Meredith:                         18:16                   You know, that's the trick.

Justin:                                18:17                   Yeah. I wish everything was like that.

Meredith:                         18:20                   Right. When you talk about the team that was, um, expressing how important early intervention is, who was on your team? Are you talking about pediatricians, developmental pediatricians, therapists?

Justin:                                18:30                   Yeah we had, you know, from specialists through getting assessments done on as we've been trying to figure everything out to teachers at the other school, you know, um, two speech therapists. We went, we spent a little time, like a few sessions with a family therapist just, which was really, it was an interesting experience and it was, but it was such a good one just for the sake of even just pointing us in a few more resources to learn about him as just as a kid, not with anything going on, just as kids in different age groups. So we've always had just been kind of fortunate to have a lot of people around us. For some, you know, we had to, I guess like speech therapy started when he might've been a year and a half. So we've just always, because of everything I've had to have more people around us. We didn't know what we're doing.

Stephanie:                        19:17                   Right. One of the added benefits of you knowing something genetically you might've been going on from such a young age, is that already at six months, he was kind of cued in that there might be things going on and you are already built into the, to the system to have people checking in on him and having the resources there.

Justin:                                19:36                   Yeah, I mean, yeah, I mean that was, even though that wasn't what they said, thank God it wasn't what they said and there were, there's still no diagnosis when we could do a full genetic testing. We've, we've just opted not to, but you're right. We had to, uh, you know, early on we had people around. So, yeah, I mean, very fortunate. I'll lie. I actually was talking to someone recently who their kids, uh, struggling with his speech and he's almost two and I was asking him if he's doing speech therapy or anything like that and they can't afford it and their insurance won't cover it, which is common, more common at least than I realized. So we were fortunate that at six months we had to start really focusing on him versus two years old for someone else, maybe not getting that help right away could make it, you know, could make a big difference

Meredith:                         20:31                   And maybe not even knowing that their child needed help.

Justin:                                20:34                   Yeah, I don't know that we would have known that he needed more help. I mean we would have been like, Hey why isn't he's saying more or whatnot, but I don't know that either of, you know, his mom or myself would have known like let's step up and do X, Y and Z. So

Meredith:                         20:50                   It sounds like so many of our families rely so heavily on resources and what resources you have and you guys were lucky to have resources nearby at an early age, but can you share a little bit about how you knew who to trust and your, how you built your team for London?

Justin:                                21:07                   I think trust is, has been easier when you have no clue. So to, I mean just being transparent. Like the biggest thing has been all you need to trust is for his mom and I is like, are we on the same page with what we're going to do? Like we've had, you know, experiences with multiple speech therapists just cause things change, life changes. And so they've, you know, but we've had somewhere somewhere of not that great of an experience. And so we didn't know, we didn't go into it saying we don't trust you. We've just always had to kind of blindly trust, which has helped I think in some cases not overthink it. It's like let's just try it. And I think just the, her and I being a team on like what's next for him is probably all that mattered anyway versus like do we trust him? Cause you can always just change the course of action. Right. So I think that's how we've navigated that.

Stephanie:                        22:14                   Is there anything that you guys specifically do to check in with each other and to work on being a team? Cause being a team in parenting in general is really difficult.

Justin:                                22:24                   Yeah. You know, we are, you know, we're divorced. So that adds typically a layer of complication to communication in a lot of ways though, it's, you know, because we can't be negligent on the communication side when it comes to London. So I don't, I don't know that we've done anything different than when we were together other than let's just talk about what's, what he needs. And so I don't think we have any, we don't have any, you know, sort of strategy other than being intentional with our son. I think that's just as simple as that. Like we're both 100% you know, we know parenting's not a 50-50 thing. It's 100% both people. And I think we both approach it like that, but it's, you know, it's just communication. Like we, we make room for and then we leave room for the other person to, if they're struggling with, you know, the emotions of some of the things that, you know, there are a lot of emotions that can come with some of this. And so leaving room for the other person to maybe have some emotions attached to a decision, you know, more strongly than the other. So there's times where I've, I even with The Parish School, like I didn't want to put him here. Like it was, it was such a huge pressure to put on us in our lives and you know, she felt very strongly about it and I'm glad she did, but I kind of kept calm. There's times I just compromise and say, you know what, if this is what you really feel strongly about, like we're a team so let's go there. So I think it's about that balance of like if, if they feel strong about it, there's time is we don't have to get our way and just trust the other person. But I don't know, just being intentional together.

Meredith:                         24:05                   And always putting London first.

Justin:                                24:09                   That's it. I mean we, that's never changed. Our question we just ask always is what's best for London. We've, I mean that has been the same whether we're married or not. Like it's the easiest. To me that's the easiest question to ask as a parent to make any decision. It's really simple. Like parenting is hard, but it's not complicated.

Stephanie:                        24:33                   That's interesting. It's an interesting perspective on parenting. Yeah.

Justin:                                24:39                   Well I mean the decision making's easy like what's best for him right now. Right, right. Yeah,

Meredith:                         24:45                   I like that. So you've been on this journey a little while. Is there anything, like, if you could go back in time, is there anything you wish you knew closer to the beginning of your journey that you know now?

Justin:                                24:54                   I don't think it matters what you know, until you get into it. And so I have never really thought about, I wish I would have known to do this then, or I just wanted, maybe it's just, I don't live that way. Like, okay, that didn't work. What, what do we need to do now? So I don't know that I look back and think like, I wish I would have known because I don't know that I would have cared until it was relevant and necessary. But I, I would say I feel so, almost, I felt ignorant before to what a lot of people go through. And I think that is what I wished I would have. I get emotional thinking about that. But you see a kid at a restaurant and maybe they're throwing a fit and you just think that parent has no control over their kids. And that's ignorance because it could be that yes, maybe, maybe they're lousy at that, but there's also the chance that there's something else going on and that kid has some challenges in it and the parent has challenges with that. And so I think if anything, just being, I wish I would have been more aware sooner about what people really go through. And it's not just always, here's the three kids and everything's just, you know, they all become, you know, all stars at every sport. And I mean, that's it. I just think the ignorance that we have toward what people might be really going through is a, is a pretty terrible blinder, you know?

Stephanie:                        26:30                   I feel that way. I feel like looking back on myself before becoming a parent, that, uh, giving more grace to parents, you know, it goes back to the cliched a kid crying on the airplane when you don't have a kid, it's the worst thing ever when you have a kid, even if it's not yours, you're like, this is annoying. But man, I feel for that kid. I feel for the parents. You just give a little more empathy and a little more grace to those around you.

Justin:                                26:57                   I just think we're like, I love who London is. I love everything that comes with London. I mean even Parish School being involved like a harder, the harder situation for us has just forced me to be more present than when I, we literally can't be negligent with anything with him, you know? So I, I, I don't know, I think it's pretty special to see how these kids like teach us probably more than we teach them.

Stephanie:                        27:23                   Yeah, definitely. On a daily basis. Yeah.

Meredith:                         27:28                   Yeah. The shifting of perspective when you become a parent is huge. Whether your child is developing at a more typical rate or on their own, you know, rate. But, uh, it shifts your perspective. I was that parent with a crying kid on the plane last week. It was miserable. Yeah, I'm sure it was miserable for everybody, but I'm pretty sure it was harder on me than anyone else and I wish I would've known that before I had kids that, yeah, that kid's crying. But that mom is probably way more miserable than I am. Show a little grace and empathy for that.

Justin:                                28:02                   Yeah. I love that you said that the grace for parents, I think that's, and it's grace for ourselves, you know, as parents, which is the hardest grace to extend that sometimes.

Stephanie:                        28:13                   And in when talking with parents as a therapist, it's becoming a parent changed my perspective because there are times when I'm like, Oh, they're not working on this at home, or this boundary shifted or I wish they could be more consistent in that. And as I've become a parent, I'm like, Oh yeah, now why this isn't consistent. Because consistency at home, sometimes it's hard and they shift your balance all the time and sometimes they're sick or sometimes your own schedule gets thrown off or changes happen and just, it's changed the way I have been as a therapist. And then also having watched all the wonderful kids here, it has changed the way I am out in the community and just as a parent myself of trying to see things from more than one view and lens and that you, as you said, you only know one little snapshot when there's so much more that's going on behind the scenes that you never really see.

Justin:                                29:11                   There is something that you made me think of when you're talking about that, which was uh, I at some point like we stop. At least me, I've stopped Googling, I've stopped, you know, like I've stopped trying to find everyone else's answer for my son and instead I've just tried to be curious, like watching what he's doing, how he's responding to it and then trying to adjust and, and then if, if it's unconventional, but it works for him. Like, let's roll with it. I didn't read it on Google or some dad blog or whatever, but like I'm going to go for it with him cause it works. And so I think that is, you know, between always looking at developmental charts and always Googling someone else's answer for your kid. Like those things are just, they don't help at all. They'd not me at least. And so I've just, I don't what you said, but it sparked that idea of like I just stopped looking for all the answers to some degree and just look right to my son and figure out what's the answer. And you know that he's showing me

Meredith:                         30:13                   Well you know him best. Well he knows himself best. Yeah. You know him second.

Justin:                                30:19                   That was mom. I know him better.

Stephanie:                        30:23                   That spoke directly to me as well because just earlier in the week I'm Googling how to get your kid to go to bed without crying. And you find that to stop and be like, okay, well you know, let's actually see what works for her instead of what, you know, this expert says because every sleep expert might say something a little different. And then you have a perspective from over here. So it is bringing it back and thinking about, well, what is my child's personality and what does work best for them?

Justin:                                30:53                   Every kid is so different. I think that's something that I'm shocked with. You know, you look at, I have siblings so I can see differences, but when you start raising your own kid and you realize how many different opinions are out there, and it's based everyone's opinions based on what worked for their situation, that's what's funny about listening to it. So you're going to find some commonality, but you're not going to find like a concrete, you know, theory always. So it's just crazy how different everyone is.

Meredith:                         31:21                   I liked when you talked about like stop Googling and things like that. I think about when my son was an infant and he was very colicky and very fussy and he didn't sleep. Um, but then when he would sleep in those moments instead of sleeping, I was Googling how to get my kid to sleep longer and too much information is bad. I felt so overwhelmed. I didn't even know where to start. And I'm wasting valuable time for rest, Googling just this like unanswered question

Justin:                                31:49                   When we were told that he might have MPS and we went. So from that moment on until he turned one, um, yeah, I tell you that six month period I lived on Google and I mean I would, we went to Mayo when we found out it wasn't MPS. Then next thing I'm doing is I'm looking at every symptom and everything and trying to figure out, I'm Googling and then like trying to figure out and diagnosis on my own. And I mean I, I wasn't focusing on work. I was literally going to work and I would sit down and start to try to figure something out. I'd get a call from the Mayo after another test. Hey, you know, that came back normal and I'd Google again. It was just a vicious cycle. And when we got the call, it was the week of his one year old birthday and Mayo Clinic called and said, Hey, all the tests now have come back and you know, we don't have any answers, doesn't show anything. Um, something's definitely going on, but we don't know. It was like the most depressing phone call cause you want an answer, you know, at that moment. I mean I, that's when I kind of stopped Googling everything was like all right there. If they don't have an answer, like Google doesn't have an answer. Um, so yeah, I said stop Googling only because I know how detrimental that was to me. And it always is. I mean I look at stuff for parenting and I read a lot, but it's like, it's a starting point now. It's not an answer ever. It's just a starting point for me to apply and adjust, you know?

Stephanie:                        33:22                   And that's what we really hope that this podcast can be for people, a place where they can go to get information that they relate to and a starting point, but then to also get it through their own lens of what works for their client or their child or their family.

Meredith:                         33:36                   Yeah. And a resource for information, but also community building. Sometimes it's just nice to hear that someone can relate to what you're going through. And I think Google is one way to kind of understand that there are parents out there who know what you're going through, but also doing that in real life, like finding resources and people in real life who can relate to you and understand what you're going through. Yeah, for sure. Yep.

Stephanie:                        34:00                   So we thank you for sharing your story so that other people can relate to it as well.

Justin:                                34:04                   Yeah, I was glad to. Thanks for having me.

Stephanie:                        34:06                   At the end of every podcast we ask each guest a question if they have one piece of advice. You've already shared many, but just one that you want to make sure that you get across and it can be about parenting or life in general. What would you like to give to our guests?

Justin:                                34:22                   Well, I think for me that the thing that I'm probably thinking a lot on right now, so the most fresh thing for me probably would be that it's less about who my kid becomes and it's more important on who I become. And so that for me has helped me think about my health, you know, the decisions I'm making. Um, cause what I show him is how he's defining me and he's going to define how he lives often through a common, a combination of things. Me just being one of them. So I think the pressure of who's my son becoming is shifting that to who am I becoming. I think the other will fall in line. That's kind of where my head's at right now.

Stephanie:                        35:09                   I like that. I liked that a lot and it shifts it from something that you can't control into something that you actually can have power over. We can't change or force our children to become something.

Meredith:                         35:21                   Nor should we.

Stephanie:                        35:23                   No. But we can work on ourselves to build really great positive role model. Yeah. Thank you very much. It was such a pleasure to talk to you.

Meredith:                         35:35                   Thank you for listening to the Unbabbled podcast. For more information on today's episode, including links to resources mentioned, please see our episode description. For more information on The Parish School, visit parishschool.org and if you're not already, don't forget to subscribe to the unbundled podcast on your app of choice. And if you like what you're hearing, be sure to leave a rating and review a special thank you to Stig Daniels, Amy Tanner and Amanda Arnold for all their hard work behind the scenes. Thanks again for listening.