Accepting differences

I know I already posted today, don’t mean to overload you but I had a story to share and a favor to ask.

This evening has been so beautiful, the thunderstorms blew over us quickly so rather than working in the field in the wet grass I decided to head across the street to the lake.  I ran into a mom and her three children.  The middle child was the most outgoing and informed me he was four years old.

As many of you know I have Muscular Dystrophy.  In the past few years I have been slowed down quite a bit and have had to resort to a wheelchair to get around much of the time.  Tonight I was in my wheel chair when I encountered this lovely family.

The first thing I heard was the mother telling one of her children that she had already discussed this with him.  But he was not to be deterred, the next I knew he was approaching me and much to his mother’s embarrassment, asked me why I was in “that thing”.

I realized quickly enough her embarrassment, but I don’t have a problem with children being quizzical, so I answered his questions openly.  We had a wonderful conversation.  When I told him that my legs weren’t strong enough to keep me from falling down, he fell down and laughed.  I asked him if he could get back up again, he proved he could and stood up.  I told him I was jealous, because if I fell down I couldn’t get back up because my legs didn’t work well enough.

I think I made a new friend and hope I get to see him again.

Here’s where I ask that favor of you.   If you have children who encounter someone who is in any way different from the norm (in their view of the world that is), please let them ask questions.  Asking questions is the only way a child learns.  I’m not ever offended, nor has anyone else I’ve known with limitations.

In our exchange tonight my little friend learned that other than our differences in physical abilities, we are very much a like.  This, in my humble opinion, is the only way we can avoid prejudice in our world.  Without prejudice, the world would be a much happier place for all of us.  Yes, kids do say the darnedest things as Art Linkletter showed, and yes, as a parent my children have embarrassed me too on ocassion, but let them ask.

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2 comments

  1. I absolutely let my children approach and ask, as long as they are respectful. Our school is pretty diverse in my rural area, and has kids with different challenges and abilities. Wheelchairs don’t seem that exotic, more the norm. One of their grandmas uses a wheelchair – the girls love to race it in the hallways when they can.

    Lovely story.

    Like

    • I’m glad your community is so diverse, I grew up in a time when most children were hidden from view if they had anything wrong physically or mentally. Great job letting your children ask questions. My grandparent had two old wheelchairs in their basement from relatives who had amputations due to diabetes, my boys also loved racing them.

      Like

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