Radical Honesty with Kepler

Without explaining all of what radical honesty is in this post, i will link to a song that clearly describes the idea of sharing your feelings out loud. You can listen HERE.

Kepler and I love to listen to music in the car. I enjoy much of the music he listens to. He enjoys *some* of mine. When I returned from my weekend workshop, I found this brand new song and I shared it with Kepler. We belt out the chorus together, “Say it out loud, say it out clear, say what you want, and what you fear. Speak out when you’re angry, say it out loud. Show the world what you’re all about.”

I have been introducing him to the idea of noticing what he feels in his body when he is feeling an emotion. “Do you feel anything in your tummy? Do you feel anything in your chest?” Yes, he will tell me. Slowly, we are making the connection together that emotion has a physical component.

Slowly he is discovering he doesn’t have to suppress his feelings. I imagine Kepler is an easygoing soul and has learned not to express the difficult feelings he has, meaning anger or fear. He has instead chosen to “shut down,” which is to say, withdraw from the situation in all ways except physically, and even physically at school where he has the option to go to the “quiet room” to recover.

Today Greg asked Kepler and me to come outside and help pick up sticks.

The branches were about this size and shape.

Keppie put on his crocs, which didn’t work well for him, so he went back in to change shoes. Once he got back and resumed picking up the sticks, he got a scratch on his ankle and decided he wanted to go in and put on socks. But Greg said no. Kepler shut down, continued to pick up sticks, but became uncommunicative.

Afterwards, I told him all of his feelings are ok. I also said sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. I said sometimes I feel angry when I have to do something I don’t want to do. I said “It is ok to tell dad you are mad at him for not letting you put on socks.” He looked at me for a long minute. “I need some alone time.” After awhile, I got a text from him. “Sorry mom, I’m ok.” And a little while later, “Say it out loud right mom i got it.”

Later, he was getting a snack before he and Greg went to run an errand. Greg said, “You can eat the snack!” Kepler stopped in his tracks. And I reminded him “Say it out loud! Say it out clear!”

And do you know what he said?

“Dad, I was scared when you told me i can eat my snack.”

And Greg replied, “You were scared? What I meant was there is time to eat your snack before we go to the store.” And I could see in Kepler’s face, the emotion was resolved.

I imagine I am ecstatic at his willingness to express a scary feeling out loud. I imagine I am so very proud of him for being willing to take a risk and say it out loud. Where will this Radical Honesty journey take us next?

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