“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” ~Robert McCloskey
Contrary to what many might think (and do), the most important job of a parent is not to speak, preach, direct or yell.
The most important job of a parent is to listen.
If you were to listen, you would hear that your adult son or daughter becomes very much the child when talking about what their parents mean in their battle against HIV.
As I have spoken to HIV+ adults around the country it has never ceased to surprise - and sometimes distress – me to see the reaction when I talk about being a dad. Somehow it has become okay to not be a dad if your son or daughter has a lifestyle that you don’t approve of. I have seen first hand the pain it causes when you lose your parents over being gay or having HIV.
We don’t get to pick who our children are anymore than they got to pick who their parents were.
I know that people are afraid of HIV and don’t like to think about the lifestyle choices of their kids if they are different than their own. But we parents can make the ultimate difference in our child’s life with HIV by providing what parents do: love and support.
I created “My Child is HIV+” – A Living Guide for Parents for Father’s Day. I wrote it for the parents of HIV positive adults who need their moms and dads to be on their team.
Inside the pages you will find basic information about HIV/AIDS and some of the things that a parent needs to know to fully support their HIV positive child. I want to thank both the parents and adult children affected by HIV for providing valuable insight for me in writing this guide. It was hard sometimes to find the right words.
The guide is the result of asking questions and seeking the answers to allow those with HIV to live a full life without unnecessary limitations. It is about cutting through the “nice to know” and providing the “need to know”. I hope you share it with your clients, friends and family.
You can get your copy right here by putting your name and email address in the form on the right column of this page.
My final word to parents: If you want to be a person of great importance in your child’s life, if you want to teach your children, motivate them, inspire them and lead them, then learn to listen.
1. Talk less. Listen more.
2. Make fewer statements. Ask more questions.
3. Make it your mission to understand HIV.