Accept, include, help, learn
Being a mother has taught me more than I probably realize. Those lessons have been greatly enhanced by being mother to two children with ASD. They have opened my life and my mind to a whole world that I never would have experienced without them.
The world that surrounds children with disabilities is so wonderfully accepting and inclusive of everyone, disabled or not. These gentle teachers are helping me to learn that everyone has a story and everyone’s story is worth knowing.
One of my pet peeves is the common inclination to equate the inability to speak with a lack of intelligence. If someone doesn’t speak, they must be stupid. Why? Certainly the ability to speak does not make one intelligent. One need only turn on the television for proof of this.
I never thought about it before but I used to see people as “bad” or “a jerk” or “retarded” or “gross”. Now I recognize that these are terms of judgement and that I don’t know the whole story. Certainly many actions are unforgivable. People, however, can be helped. Whether I need them in my life is a different matter altogether.
Perhaps one day it will be easier to see someone and think “How can I help you today?” instead of “How can I judge you today?” We don’t know how a person got to where they are. It might be a miracle but because we see them through the lens of our own experiences they seem inadequate and perhaps stupid.
For myself, I hope the next time I’m tempted to think something negative about a person I remember to take a second and realize that maybe just being there is a miracle for them and, hopefully, not be a part of anyone’s problem.