Hours later after the incident had passed, I was now in a funk. While Drew busied himself with some table work in the kitchen, I started for the other room, but as I was about to leave he stopped me and said, "Umm, Mommy, will you please forgive me for getting mad, earlier?" Well, I can't adequately describe how I felt in that instant, but I threw out my arms to him and he ran to me. We hugged and cried and I told him I forgave him and told him it was all over and that everything was okay. I was crying. He was crying. We had reconciled and the feeling we both had in that moment was worth more than gold.

Character Training is a Process

What God blessed me with on that day was the reminder that Drew, despite his autism, does, indeed, have a conscience--and thanks be to Him, it is becoming tender. Character training is hard, tiresome work. It is a long PROCESS, and one which needs to be well thought out with an actual plan and with specific goals in mind. Sometimes I fear it is too easy to be more organized, goal-oriented, and proactive when putting together an IEP than with issues of character, and the hearts of our children, hence, the need for an Individualized Character Plan.

Have you sat down and made one for your child for this year? More than all of the academics and all of the therapy you do with your children, try and remind yourselves that pointing your child's heart towards Christ is truly your ultimate "work." Character training requires just as much, if not more, of your consideration, thoughts, efforts and planning, than does any IEP.

It had only been two weeks prior to "funk day" that we had Drew tested for his annual testing required in our state for homeschoolers. His overall score showed he had made great progress over the past year. As wonderful as that news is for a mom who homeschools, Drew asking forgiveness for a wrongdoing, is a score, to me, that can't even be measured.

After a few more attempts of trying to woo the cat over to where I was sitting, I finally gave up and rose to just go and get her. What choice did I have? She was a cat, she will always be a cat, and I knew there was no hope of change. I'm thankful this isn't the case with our children.

We serve a God who is full of grace and mercy. There IS hope!

Cathy Steere and her husband, David, live in the beautiful Pacific northwest and homeschool their two sons, Drew and Elliot. David and Cathy met at Providence Reformed Baptist Church where they have been members for over 16 years. For the past seven years the Steeres have implemented an individualized neurodevelopmental home program with their oldest son, who has autism.  Their story, in the book Too Wise to be Mistaken, Too Good to be Unkind: Christian Parents Contend With Autism, is one of hope and encouragement for all Christian parents seeking to teach their special needs children at home.  www.graceandtruthbooks.com

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the NATHHAN News, a publication for Christian families homeschooling special needs children. Reprinted with permission from Home School Enrichment Magazine. Click here for information on how to subscribe.