My New and Really Tough Job
A “My Brother is Autistic” Book
When Daddy read the Bible to me and my little brother last night, he read from Proverbs, “My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.”
Now, I understood what that meant, at least most of it, because I am very smart. A regular know-it-all my Grammy says. After all, I am six, but my brother, Clay, is only four. And, Clay is autistic and doesn’t talk. I really didn’t think he knew all those words.
So, I said, “Daddy why are you reading that to Clay when he can’t understand it?”
“What makes you think he didn’t understand?” Daddy asked me. Daddy’s favorite thing is to tell me that Clay knows a lot more than I think he does. And maybe he does, but… “I just don’t think he knows all those words.” I said.
“Well,” Daddy said. “Then, it might be up to you to change the words.”
“You can’t change God’s words, Daddy.” I said.
“You can say it so Clay can understand it,” Daddy said, and that’s how I got the very hard and very tough job of rewriting the Bible so Clay could understand it.
I thought about it for awhile and then decided I needed a plan. I needed to start somewhere. So why not in proverbs where Daddy was reading. I don’t know if you ever noticed, but the verses in Proverbs are usually short. I can’t read all those words, yet, but I like to look at the page when Daddy reads it.
“Daddy, ” I said. “Write down the number of the proverbs you read tonight. Tomorrow, when we go to Grammy’s, I am going to ask her to help me.”
“Good idea.” Daddy said. I hoped he didn’t think I couldn’t do it myself. I knew I could do it, but Grammy is a good helper. She used to be a teacher.
The next day was Monday. On Monday and Thursday, Clay and I went to Grammy’s house after school. Then, Mommy and Daddy came and got us at 7:00. I always got there first on the school bus. Then, Clay came in his van from his special day care. Mostly, we watched TV, jumped on the trampoline, played games with Grammy, and helped her make supper.
The first thing I did on Monday was give Grammy the piece of paper where Daddy had written Proverbs 1:8-9. Grammy looked them up on her phone because her Bible was on her Kindle app. I explained my new job to her, and, of course, she said she would be very happy to help me.
The first thing she did was ask me which words I thought Clay didn’t understand. “That’s easy,” I said. “I don’t think he knows any of them.”
“Now, Celia,” Grammy said. “You know, he does know a lot of words. First line: My child, listen when your father corrects you. Which word might be hard for him.”
Of course, Clay could get most of that except… “Corrects.” I said. “And, my child. I mean no one says that today.” So Grammy and I put our heads together and just before we heard Clay’s van turn into the driveway, we had it.
Grammy had written it down, and she read it to me. “Clay and Celia, if Daddy sees you do something wrong, he will let you know how to do it right, and you need to listen to him.” We both thought Clay would understand that.
Just then, Courtney, Clay’s bus person came down the sidewalk with Clay. Clay liked to hold people’s hands and lead them around. She had to come in each night, so Grammy could sign the paper saying she had him. Strange, huh? But I guess they didn’t want to lose any little kids.
Clay didn’t look at me or Grammy. He went right to his little play table and checked out his snack. That night he had pop corn and a peanut butter cup. I had already eaten mine. He opened it up, and let the papers fall right on the floor. That’s when I wondered if God meant that just Daddy could correct him or could anyone, like me!
But, Grammy beat me to it. “Clay, Sweetie, remember what Grammy said about papers?” That’s what she always said. And just like ALWAYS, Clay just kept walking and rubbing the peanut butter cup on his face. Of course, he didn’t remember, but I didn’t say that out loud, any more.
Then, Grammy got up and took his hand and holding his hand in hers she reached down, so that he had to reach down, too. Then, he picked up the paper and walked with Grammy to the waste basket with Grammy still holding his hand, and he dropped in the paper. “Don’t forget,” Grammy said. “Papers go in the waste basket.”
“Do you really think he will remember? ” I asked her. I mean, he was four, and she had been telling him the same thing since he was three.
“He peels his orange into the waste basket, doesn’t he?” She said. Grammy had a way of saying things so you had to agree with her. And maybe, just maybe, one day he will put his wrappers in the trash. Maybe.
Then, Clay decided to jump on our trampoline which took up almost the whole livingroom, and Grammy and I went to work on the next proverb. “Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.”
” Can I ask you a question first? ” I said. “Do you think God meant only Daddy can correct us and only Mommy can teach us?” Grammy thought about that for minute. “Well,” she said. “I don’t see the word only, do you?”
No, I didn’t see only. It didn’t say listen when “only” your father corrects you. “I guess he should listen when anyone in charge of him tells him what to do.” I said. “Even me, right?”
Grammy smiled. “Maybe when you get a little older.” She said. It really didn’t matter because most of the time Clay didn’t listen to anyone. Or maybe he did. Daddy said he did.
So, after we helped Grammy make macaroni and cheese, and after Grammy and I ate ours, and Clay picked at his and smelled it a lot, Grammy and I got back to work. Here is what we came up with. For
“Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction” we put “pay attention when Mommy and other adult people are trying to teach you something and try to remember it.”
And, then we worked on the last part which I have to admit was kind of hard even for me to understand. The “What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck” became “everything you learn from Mommy and Daddy and Grammy is going to be very important and make you be a good person.”
Then, just before Daddy and Mommy came to get us, Grammy sent a Facebook message to Mommy and wrote it all down in the message. That way the next time Daddy read to us from the Bible be could read it so Clay would be able to get it.
“Clay and Celia,” the message said. “If Daddy sees you do something wrong, he will let you know how to do it right, and you need to listen to him. Always pay attention when Mommy and other adult people are trying to teach you something and try to remember it.
“Everything you learn from Mommy and Daddy and Grammy is going to be very important and will make you a good person. Proverbs 1:8-9 rewritten by Celia for Clay”