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The Day It Snowed

By Cathy Steere

Taken from her book:

Too Wise to be Mistaken, Too Good to be Unkind: Christian Parents Contend With Autism

I had just finished reading a portion of a book to my son which detailed the life of Helen Keller.  As I discussed it with him, his eyes grew huge with astonishment. He turned to me and questioned, "You mean she couldn't see anything, that she was completely blind?"

"That's right," I answered, nodding.  I watched as he closed his eyes, wrinkled his upturned face, and felt the space around him. "What would it be like to be blind?" he wondered. 

"And remember," I said, " she couldn't hear, either."

He opened his eyes and looked at me, more shocked than before. "She was blind AND deaf?" He now mindlessly fingered his ears.

This news was almost impossible for him to grasp.  He desperately searched my expression to see if I was indeed telling the truth.  When he saw that I was, his sweet face twisted into a pained expression and his deep blue eyes welled up with tears.

"What is it, sweetie?" I asked, moved by his obvious, but unexpected, emotion.

He answered solemnly, with barely a whisper, "Oh, mommy, we should be so thankful to God----How terrible it would be if there was something wrong with me."

"Yes," I managed to choke out, tears clouding my own eyes, "It would be."

I reached for my son who has autism, bent, and planted a kiss on the top of his head.

Have you ever taken a moment to consider what someone else goes through, their hardship or loss, and then unexpectedly find yourself turning around and looking at your own life-challenges with a different perspective? Somehow your own difficulties don't seem so great anymore, do they? Having a thankful heart is something which needs to be disciplined and cultivated within us, it doesn't just happen naturally. One of the best ways to become a more thankful person is to actually BE more thankful.  And what ought to give us the most cause to be thankful is to recognize that ultimately, we deserve nothing. In fact, whatever good we do have, as small a blessing as it may be, has not been earned or deserved by us, but has been graciously gifted to us by the hand of our kind and merciful heavenly Father.

In January of this year we woke up one morning to find a perfect, white layer of snow covering everything outside. It was so beautifully peaceful.

The boys, Drew, who was nine at the time and who has autism, and Elliot, who was seven years old, were dying to get out in it. We bundled them up and David, my husband, took them out.

I stood at a bedroom window watching them play and I smiled to myself. I chuckled as Drew picked up a clump of snow and gleefully threw it in David's direction. He missed. In return, David threw a small snowball which hit Drew, splattering into bits all over his chest. Drew burst out laughing and went for another lump of ammunition near his feet.

I got the camera to take a picture of the wild, happy group outside. Then it dawned on me that I had stood in that very same spot four years before to take a picture of the boys and David venturing out into the newly fallen snow. I still have that picture and remember the day well. Little Elliot, only three years old then, was wrapped up so tightly his arms looked ready for takeoff. David, trying his best to engage his son,
tossed a snowball at Drew. It broke over Drew's coat, but he just watched the remains fall to the ground. He just stood there and stared at the ground, not yet knowing the steps to the dance called reciprocation. After some real, but failed, attempts on David's part to employ Drew in some frivolity, he gave up and they all finally came trudging back into the house.

This day in January was so different from that of four years before. I laughed as they made an oddly shaped snowman, each working hard to pat it all into place. And then, suddenly, it began to snow. Millions of huge, glistening, sloppy flakes were let loose from heaven. The trio outside paused from their work to look up and open their mittens, hoping to capture some of the drifting puffs. I watched in awe at the immense beauty of the moment and thought how those stunning white bits were like the many, many blessings daily rained down upon us from our Maker. And like the snowflakes, they are too numerous to count, and too undeserved to truly appreciate in this lifetime.

I'll never forget this day when it snowed.  Really, though, when you think about it, it snows every day.

By Cathy Steere

Too Wise to be Mistaken, Too Good to be Unkind:Christian Parents Contend With Autism

Book reviews


Reviews by two parents of Too Wise to be Mistaken, Too Good to be Unkind: Christian Parents Contend With Autism, from

Reviewer: Anna A. Thorburn from Petersburgh, NY United States 

Too Wise To Be Mistaken; Too Good To Be Unkind  is a must-read for all Bibically-minded parents facing the challenge of raising a child with a disability!! It was first recommended to us by our family doctor, and proved to be a turning point in our lives.

As a mother of 4 small children, one with autism and mild CP, this book was a God-send. It was the single most helpful and theologically sound book that I have read in my struggle to find appropriate and God-honoring treatment for our son. In this excellent book, I was encouraged to think Bibically about our son, God's provision, treatment options, and our own ability as parents to deal with our son's disabilities. I feel completely confident now that we are ordained by God as parents to make appropriate decsions for our child, and that God's hand and grace are upon His children. That He has given us "all things pertaining to life and godliness.." Therefore, we can find all the answers for how to deal with a disability using Bibical principles, which are so clearly outlined in Cathy Steere's book! In this book, she shares the story of early life with her son Drew~how they parented him (this could be considered a parenting manual as well, in my opinion!), how they found out he has autism, and then their journey through the options available to them.

Though Cathy does not promote *one* single way of dealing with a disability, we personally found that the approach she and her husband chose for their own son, has worked for us as well. We used her resource lists found in the book to contact specialists across the country, finally finding "our" specialist for our son Josiah. We homeschool our children, but wondered if our disabled son would fare as well in that environment as oppossed to with the "professionals." After reading Cathy's book and with much prayer and research, we found that we could **indeed** homeschool our son and that he would certainly fare even better than if put in the school environment! Above all, we have become confident in simply thinking Bibically about each trial and decision that comes our way. Knowing God is sovereign, His love abounds to His own children, and that He is sufficient for all our needs, including those regarding our autistic son...these things give us hope and comfort.

Too Wise To Be Mistaken; Too Good To Be Unkind was the single most helpful tool in our journey to "leave no stone unturned" in the quest for what is best for our son. God brought it to us at just the right time. I have recommended it to dozens of families. Our family doctor also recommends it to all his patients who have an autistic or disabled child. I cannot recommend this book more highly~~it is a must-read!!!!!!!!!! ~Anna Thorburn

Reviewer: Tim Stevens from Renton, WA USA 

In attempting to find authoritative books on Autism, there tends to be two sources: psychologists/health care professionals, and parents who have engaged (usually with some measure of success) in one form of therapy or another. Cathy Steere makes no pretenses to be authoritative; hers is a gritty, first-hand account of the realities of encountering the faceless monster that is Autism and her personal battle to snatch her son from its jaws.

Steere provides a candor in her narrative that is refreshing. She doesn't shirk from the graphic details of personal agony; self-doubt and second-guessing that haunt all parents of Autistic children. She resists the temptation to portray herself as a selfless heroine in providing the constant therapy to her son, and, in so doing, gives hope to the reader who struggles through the same frustrations.

Those who view Autism solely as a psychological/social disorder will no doubt denigrate the therapy program espoused by Steere. This approach focuses upon treating the brain as a physical organ, rather than a social organ, and operates from the standpoint that repetitive exercise through continual input can strengthen the desired skills and ultimately produce the desired output. As an educator, scientist and athletic coach, I find the approach solid in basis.

After trying "typical" approaches - including standard physical and occupational therapies as well as restrictive diets - my wife Denise and I found in Steere's book a program that empowers the parent to affect real change in the child. For my wife, the book provided a constant companion, a friend who was able to share her grief and hope on command. For myself, it provided a source to make sense out of the confusion that ensnarled our family. For our daughter, the book provided us an avenue to effectively wrest her from her darkness. The progress that she has experienced - a progress that has been significant enough to both make an impression upon her doctors and therapists and provide relief and hope to our family - can be substantially attributed to Cathy's tale of struggle and victory with her son Drew.

This book is, indeed, not for everyone. Not all parents will be willing to put the time, effort, and energy and yes, discipline necessary into the program to which Steere refers. Steere's unapologetically conservative Christian values will no doubt be an affront to those who are looking for a more "touchy-feely" approach. That being said, Steere's book is a venture into a bold response to an insidious condition...a response with a decidedly happy ending.