Updated: Jul 2, 2019
I would have never ever reconciled in my mind that I would ever have a child that would be a part of the special needs population. After all it was something that happened to other people. You know, the people that you would see in the store, quickly shifting your eyes to avoid staring and thanking God in your heart that your child is not like that. I was that mom! My mother taught my siblings and I not to stare at people for any reason. She taught us to smile and quickly look away so that the person did not feel uncomfortable. So, that is what we did. We would see a morbidly obese person and smile. We would see a person in a wheel chair and smile. We would see the man with one leg, the old lady with the hunch back - that looked awfully painful - and smile. My mom taught us that when we were children. It was a valuable lesson and a lesson that I wish other people would teach themselves and their children.
Before Gabrielle was born I took our children to the library and we borrowed books about people with differences. We learned why veterans had missing limbs, we learned about why some people ended up in wheel chairs and why some babies couldn't see, hear, talk or walk. We learned about vitiligo, braille, and why the visually impaired uses a white cane. We learned about service animals and why people needed them. As a mom I wanted our children to be cultured. I wanted them to know and understand about the culture of the special population. I bought toys from Lakeshore that highlighted differently abled people. Years later, Gabrielle was born with cri du chat our children were already prepared to accept their baby sister just as she was. I am not saying that there were not challenges concerning our typical children and our special needs baby. Maybe I will write about that in another blog.
I decided to take Gabrielle to Downtown Goldsboro this week to walk and shop. She says hello to people, she says good-bye and she says thank you when handed a receipt etc. Her words are not clear but she is demonstrating common courtesy because we taught her that. Our time downtown was great! No stares, no rude comments, nobody ignored her salutations and everyone treated her with respect. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The blog picture we took was at ,Thee Hair Affair Beauty Supply store downtown. The lady in the shop was kind to both Gabby and I and answered all of our questions about what the new store had to offer. It was a beautiful experience and I will be going back to support this new business.
Dear mom, if you are not teaching your children how to embrace different populations, you are in error. If you find yourself staring at people that are different, then your children will as well. If you are not taking the time to say hello to those who are of the special population your children will do what you do! If you are speaking words of judgement about the child with autism who is having a meltdown in Walmart - shame. on. you! Help that mom. Tell her it is ok and assist her. Why? Because when you do that, you are teaching your children how to love. Be an example.
Exodus 4:11 says, "Then the LORD asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD?" Do your part because it is your duty at a parent and as a citizen of your local community.
Check out the sites for the toys I spoke of above.