When it came (long LONG ago back in the mists of the past) time to pick a senior quote, I went with one of my own making. I thought it made me sound a little like a guy who was more fun than people knew, but looking back on it, it kinda made me look like someone who was TRYING to sound like a guy who was more fun etc. etc. It was 'Trouble isn't trouble unless you're caught.' You may groan now.
One of my friends went with a more classic one from Sun Tzu - "Know yourself - in a thousand battles you will never know defeat." Back then I had problems with that quote, wondering about ambushes, tricks, and just plain old being outmatched. It was only when I got older and thought about it that I understood it a bit better, and then having Xander really drove it home and showed me it was wrong.
It means know your limits. Don't pick fights in areas where you're not strong. Play to your strengths. For example, I am not strong in home repair. Not strong is being kind - I would have to get exponentially better to make it up to not strong. I'm under court order to not attempt anything more complex than changing a light bulb. Therefore, when someone is talking about home repair stuff, I shouldn't jump in and act like I know something about it. Instead, I should perhaps smoothly fake a choking fit and hastily excuse myself.
When it comes to parenting, and more specifically parenting Xander, I have learned limits very well. Mine and his.
Xan has a built-in time limit for work. Usually around the millisecond mark. After this short limit is reached he tends to dig in his heels and make learning difficult and frustrating, and I've learned that at some certain point he's done, and pushing him further on with result in yelling, screaming, head-butting and trouble. He'll act up as well.
The trick is realizing when that switch flips from 'I don't want to do this but I can' to 'I've had all I can take, for real, and I can't handle anymore'. It can be hard to tell. As he used to play his teachers, now he plays us. We've been told he can do things we didn't think he could, and I prefer that to when it was the teachers he was fooling...to a small point.
Maybe someone else could make him do more, or keep him calm, or get him to learn more. Actually, there's no maybe about that - his teachers do that. That's one of my limits I don't like - I'm not as good at teaching him. We tend to meet in the middle when we get impatient with each other and we meet in a crash of egos, which ends with him in his room and me in another, each of us calming down.
Because of those times, I tend to be slower and calmer teaching him, giving him plenty of breaks for both of us. I've seen those limits and what happens when we cross them.
But still - sometimes I do cross them.
Xan is smart. Xan is probably a genius. Every professional who has observed him says they believe that. Which means while he may have limits from his autism, he doesn't have any for his intelligence, and sometimes I push him past where he wants to stop because I know he can do it. He also gets no slack when he does something wrong that I'm pretty sure he knows better, because as I tell him, "I know you're smart enough to know what you did was wrong," even though this will result in his getting in trouble, getting mad, getting punished and reacting in kind. Punishments seem to cut two ways in our house. And when I push past those limits, I know what could happen and that I could lose.
So sometimes I break my limits, so he can go beyond his and reach more of his potential.
Sun Tzu was wrong. I've lost many battles.
So I can still maybe win the war.