Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity covers stories of diverse caregiver experience; parents with exceptional children: children with deafness, dwarfism, Downs syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, or disability. Others are caring for children who are prodigies, transgender, conceived from rape, or committing crimes. It is a rich and exhausting tome (962 pages) — profoundly sad, exhilarating, and inspiring. Solomon interviews more than 300 families navigating a journey they didn’t choose, caring for their children, facing unexpected challenges. What can those of us committed to participatory medicine learn from their experience?
My grandson, age 4: Opa (that’s me) go get your cane, let’s play in the yard.
- Bounce back
- Take on difficult challenges and still find meaning in life
- Respond positively to difficult situations
- Rise above adversity
- Cope when things look bleak
- Tap into hope
- Transform unfavorable situations into wisdom, insight, and compassion
- The capacity to make and carry out realistic plans
- Communication and problem-solving skills
- A positive or optimistic view of life
- Confidence in personal strengths and abilities
- The capacity to manage strong feelings, emotions, and impulses