Jul 19

Special Guest: Interview with 13 yr Old, Dylan Taylor

In case this is your first time joining me on my blog, let me get you caught up.  July 2, 2010, the devotion,  Is God Enough? , was featured as the Proverbs 31 Daily Devotion.  The devotion spurred me to write 13 Years Ago Today on my blog.  Both received so much feedback (and are even being featured in an upcoming release by a well known author/speaker) that I felt like I needed to do more.  One more step was required to complete this series on “Is God Enough?”  It was an interview with my 13 year old son, Dylan.

If you read the blog post mentioned above, you know that Dylan was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at a very early age.  What I didn’t tell you was that he was also diagnosed with a coordination disorder and had severe speech issues. On top of all this, he was born with Aplaisia Cutis .  Although this was no risk to his health, it was very visible on his scalp. Plastic surgery helped this not to be as noticeable, but it did leave a scar.  Occasionally people have asked Dylan about it.  It was enough to cause major insecurity and believe me, my husband and I had concerns.  Dylan has handled it wonderfully, but it was one more obstacle he had to deal with.

When I interviewed Dylan, I asked him to be honest and pretend I wasn’t his mom. I am printing exactly what he said, not adding or taking anything from it.

As promised, here is the interview:

1.  When you are explaining your disorders to your friends, how do you explain it or do you even share with your friends?

I don’t think I’ve ever shared it with my friends.  Didn’t need to.


2.  What would be the best advice you would give to other kids suffering from anxiety?

There’s really nothing to be afraid of or embarrassed about.  If you are like me and carry other people’s burdens , it hurts yourself more than them and doesn’t help them at all.  I learned that.  I realized there was nothing to fear.


3.  You have a scar on your head. Does that bother you?

I didn’t even know what it looked like until a kid made fun of it in school.  Then I was self-conscious about it. I knew I had a scar because my mom would put sun screen on it, but it wasn’t a big deal until then. It was bad and I was a bit embarrassed.


4.  Does it still bother you?

Now I don’t really care as much what people think.  I don’t care about their opinion.  As I began to overcome my anxiety I stopped listening to other people.  I started listening to people who said good things like good friends, God, Mom, Dad, and Pastor Steven (pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC).


5.  How does having a Mom and Dad that are devoted to the Lord and to each other help you in your struggle, if at all?

No one else understood, but they could help me with my problems to overcome them and work on it.  I trusted my parents.


6.  Do you feel like you can talk to your parents about anything?

Hmm.  Not really anything, but most things.  Some stuff is just personal and I tell people my own age, like my friends.  Not Mom and Dad.


7.  How do you feel about your family?  Have they helped?

Yes.  I guess Mom would always comfort me and introduce me to things with a Christian perspective. Blake (older brother) was a great role model.  Hayden (older brother) showed me how people basically are.  Hayley Grace (younger sister) has been a friend.  Dad has been a friend, father, watched over me, and helped me.


8.  What kinds of things help you to relax, and what do your parents do for you which help you de-stress the most?

Take a breather (a time out for just me).  My parents comforted me and told me they weren’t disappointed in me and love me the same.  I learned to ask for prayer.


9.  How did it feel when you were little and afraid of things?

I was sorry for people and afraid something would happen to them. I worried about other people a lot.


10.  How does it feel now?

It’s not a big deal for me now.  I’m used to things now and I’ve grown out of it I guess.  I learned there wasn’t anything to be afraid of.  I still feel sorry for people though.  I care a lot but I don’t worry as much.


11.  Was there a time when it all “clicked” and you made a decision to change your thinking or reaction to life? You are a hero in overcoming trials and I want to learn from you and pass it on!

I guess around summer after 4th grade.  I was embarrassed at school about crying over stuff and I realized I didn’t need to cry over the stuff.  I learned to deal with my problems other ways.  Instead of crying, I would talk to someone or focus on something better going on in my life.


12.  How did medication help you?

It made me feel used to being relaxed and I accepted that feeling and then I was able to do it on my own.  I’m not on any medication now.


13.  In your opinion, what can a Sunday School teacher/leader do to keep her students motivated in their walk with God?

Encourage them to get involved serving and let them know how the Bible can help in your life.  Take the verses beyond the next level, like Pastor Steven does and explain them and how they apply to modern life and how they can use them. It gives you hope.


14.  Do you ever feel like God is going to use you in a really big way?  I’m thinking about Moses, who was way too scared to lead, but once he trusted God, he became one of the most powerful leaders in history. Do you ever think that could be you?

I never really thought about myself as a leader until this year.  I started to lead my life myself.  I got involved in serving at Elevation myself and I brought my friends to come volunteer some too.  I do feel like God is going to use me in a really big way.


15.  What are the most effective ways you’ve found to manage anxiety?

I guess having supporting friends in addition to family to help cheer me on.  Family has always helped me, but my friends made me feel like I could get over it at my age.


16.  What Scriptures (if any) did you cling to?

My life verse (Proverbs 3:5-6) that my mom prayed for me and gave me when I was a baby helped me.  But my brother’s life verse (Joshua 1:9) helped me too.  It said to be strong and courageous.  I knew I had to be brave about this stuff.  And the Lord was watching over me so nothing could go wrong.


17.  What do you do for fun?

Play drums.  Have friends over.  Swim.  Serve at Elevation.


18.  What advice would you give to someone who does not want to go to church any more?

Give church another chance because God gives you another chance.  Don’t give up on God because God never gave up on you.


19.  What did your parents do to help you overcome all of your stuff?

Took me to the doctor.  Prayed for me.  Got their friends to pray for me.  Loved me always.


20.  How did a doctor help you?

He had me talk about it and helped me understand it and what to expect. He also helped me learn about what to say to others about it.


21.  Why did you ask your mom’s friends for prayer when you were scared?

That’s all I knew to do.  There was nothing I could do to make it settle, so I left it to Mom, her friends, and God.


22.  Did that help?

Yes.


23.  Who do you talk to when you are down or troubled?

My close friends.  I pray about it. Depends on the problem.  I’d go to my parents for big stuff.


24.  How is your relationship with God now?

Pretty good.  I don’t have much to ask of Him other than to keep my life how it is.  I trust Him. I believe in Him.


25.  How do you feel about you?

Pretty good.  Around 5th grade I started making friends and that helped my self esteem.  Playing drums gave me a hobby and that helped.


In closing:

Today I still fear when there is something to fear, but I don’t fear harmless things.  It didn’t happen quickly, but because of the people in my life, I’ve learned to trust.  God is enough.

Dylan, thank you so much for taking the time to share straight from your heart with my blog readers, Facebook and Twitter friends, and anyone else who may stumble across this interview.  Your strength, determination, and faith are amazing to me.  I love you and I’m so proud of the man you are becoming.  xoxoxoxo  (hope that doesn’t embarrass you too much!)

Melissa

Comments

  1. Wow. You are such a strong and brave young man Dylan. Thank you so much for your honesty. I am so very proud of you and love you just the way you are. I know your message will help many! Thanks to you (and Mom) for sharing!

  2. I agree. Dylan is very strong and brave to share his story with us. Thank you Dylan! I’m working tonight, but tomorrow I want to share this with my son. I think it will be very encouraging for him. I know it was for me, and right now I can use all of that I can get. So again, thanks for sharing!!!!!!!

  3. Dylan, it’s been my honor to pray for you. You are God’s handiwork and you greatly display His splendor and power!! You’re future is bright.

    Fondly ~ Rachel

  4. Dylan and Melissa, Thank you so much from someone who is always trying to learn more about teens.

  5. What an awesome interview. It speaks truth to adults and teens. Melissa, I know you are so proud of Dylan – I would be if I were his mom! Wow. And Dylan, God is going to do great things through you. You are probably an inspiration to so many kids that you dont even know about it. Thanks for sharing.

  6. When I grow up, I want to be just like Dylan.

  7. When I met Dylan, I knew he was not like any other kid his age. I was first impressed with his manners and that he called me ma’am. Who answers yes ma’am anymore? Very few people and something I didn’t expect from a 12 yr. old. ( I know you are 13 now :-) )

    Thank you Dylan for being honest and sharing this information. As I read it I was in tears because this is something I am going through with someone and will be sharing this with them.

    You keep listening to the positive, encouraging people in your life. God has already started doing great things with you!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dylan, 2 comments you made really stood out to me: (1) That you left this problem up to God, your mom, and her friends. I mean, that prayer circle is tighter than an alligator’s clamped jaw. (2) I also like your insight about caring for others more/worrying less. I think you’re on to a positive connection there. I’m not saying there won’t need to be some worry involved during Gator season, but we’ll save that for another day!
    Alexa

  9. Dylan, Wow – thank you for sharing all this. I know many adults, myself included who have struggled with anxiety – this is so helpful. Thanks for being so open!

  10. That was a really good interveiw. I enjoyed reading it.

    ~+~maddy~+~
    _____________

  11. Dylan, you’re awesome!! Thank you for being a vessel for the Lord to use and for sharing your relationship with Jesus with us. Keep reading the Bible, praying and asking others to pray for you. You’ve inspired me!

    Ka-chow!
    Sambo

  12. Dylan, thank you for sharing with all of us. You are an inspiration to so many. God has great plans for you, you will go far, warm many hearts and help so many people in your life. God Bless you!

  13. My middle daughter, Melissa, has a struggle w/ fears. I’ve given her verses to help her overcome them. I never thought of having her see a Dr. I think we help her get thru it w/ prayer & Jesus, though. Your article has given me some room to think about some other ways to help my girl overcome her own anxiety. Thanks! 😉

    ~TinaLee~ :)

  14. What incredible words from a 13 year old. I am so touched. Thank you both for sharing straight from your heart! Thanks, Dylan, for being so open. I know your words will help and inspire lots of people. God is certainly using you already in big ways. I wish you could have spent more time with my Alexa. I think you both would have gotten along so well. (And you were both born the same year!!)
    Love you, Melsa. Thanks, again, for being so open and sharing your heart!!
    I miss you, too. Please, let’s try to get together sometime soon. We may be going to Boone one weekend this fall. Would love to hook up. :)

  15. Dylan,
    Thanks so much for sharing your heart and being so transparent with us. It’s wonderful to hear about how God has worked and is working in your life!

  16. Dylan, this is amazing!! God is already using you in a big way. Your advice to us as adults and to other kids is so powerful. My Andrew, who is your age, has also struggled with anxiety and God has helped him overcome it as well. I can’t wait to have him read this. It will make him feel good that someone his age knows what it is like. He always thought nobody else his age felt the same way and he wished he didn’t. Prayer and trusting God are really where power and peace come from.

    I am so proud of you. I loved being your 3rd grade Sunday school teacher. It was so much fun to get to know you and now to see what God has done in your life – wow!!! I am so proud of you!!!