Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Educate, Educate, Educate

In regards to Cat's blog:

This is our opportunity to teach, and that is the greatest gift.....besides love, of course. I think for a few of us we are at a threshold where the time that our kids look like most others (but way more cute with all those rolls and chubby little fingers) to a time where they are really different and stand out.

I get it more and more with Bryan. The "look" - something is different, but people just can't seem to put their finger on it. The questions about age, weight, etc. are coming more and more frequently.

I myself used the m word without thinking twice about it BB (before Bryan). I had no idea as I had never been around a person with dwarfism before. In hindsight, I see just how discriminating and damaging it was to categorize people based on the way they look. And I was totally unaware that I was hurting anyone.

I have since come to realize that all differences are no more than eye color, shoe size or DNA. Bryan's Dad, Casey, has been teased his entire life because he is a VERY large person. Our bodies are simply a suitcase for God's plan. We choose to carry it well or let it weigh us down. What's inside is what's important. Bryan has opened my eyes in a way that no amount of sensitivity training, political correctness or preaching ever could.

The path to abolish discrimination and ignorance is not with anger or harsh words. As God has chosen our lives to be enlightened by blessing us with these very special children, we must return the favor by spreading the joy that they bring to us and allowing the world to see that their differences are only physical in nature. I hope that anyone who spends any amount of time with Bryan will see that he is a loving, gentle, kind soul and the size of his body or any label they may have preconceived for him will be replaced with thoughts of a beautiful, happy boy with a smile a mile wide that he shares with everyone he encounters.

Inside of us all is a human being who shares the same basic needs of the rest of the world...to belong, to feel loved, and to carve a path in life that leads to peace within. Because we are all human, we tend to label and categorize, this is simple human nature. When we can open our minds and understand why and how ALL labels are hurtful to someone in some way...then we are truly enlightened to the world God has gifted us.

The next time we become angry because someone has used a word that we find offensive, we should use it as an opportunity to educate, if possible, and also to reflect on our own selves, to remind ourselves to think before we put any kind of label on another, and how that person might feel if they were in earshot of the conversation.

I still encounter people regularly who use the m word. Most always, it is because they do not realize how derogatory it is. I do enlighten them, and I tell them about my beautiful grandson and how I hope he never has to endure discrimination and hurtful words. And I show them a picture of how beautiful, sweet and innocent he is. Then I leave it up to them, and hope somehow I have made a difference in the world.

Thanks Cat - for inspiring me to get my thoughts out of my head and share my experiences.

7 comments:

Caden and Mommy said...

Nicely said! At this point in Caden's development I'm kind of having fun with the people who asks how old he is, and I reply 16 months, then they look again and look puzzled. I like to watch their perplexed look. For most I don't take time to explain it as more often than not I'm in a hurry or figure I won't see them again.
:-)

Kim said...

Very well put! I think you have conveyed this in a wonderful way. Who could not love Bryan? People ask me if Preston is 2-which he is-but I have a feeling as he hits three and still is about the same size the interest factor will come into play. So far nothing degrading so for that I am grateful.

Kim said...

Very well put! I think you have conveyed this in a wonderful way. Who could not love Bryan? People ask me if Preston is 2-which he is-but I have a feeling as he hits three and still is about the same size the interest factor will come into play. So far nothing degrading so for that I am grateful.

Jennifer said...

Amen. Bryan is a happy, wonderful boy and such a blessing!

Tonya said...

Every day we venture out is an oppurtunity to educate! Very well out Candi! People will have to learn and choose once they are made aware of their mistakes.

Good Job!!

How Life Is Measured said...

How are you? We miss you!
Cat

Juliane and Lukas said...

Lukas is about the same age as Bryan, and we are at the same stage. People are beginning to look at him just slightly longer than they might at other children. You are absolutely right: at these moments we have the chance and obligation to educate and reflect on our own ways of thinking. We enjoyed your post; Bryan looks absolutely adorable!