Thursday, April 15, 2010

One little girl's determination

Today I was in a craft store, and there was a mother with four children around the age of four or five. They were following her; all of them had their backs to me. In the midst of them, was a little girl with pink crocs, straight blond hair swinging side to side as she walked with her crutches. Maybe muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, but something had rendered her legs weak and unable to support her. I never saw her face, but in her movements there was determination and pride; she was keeping up with the crowd.

Something about that little girl has touched me deeply. I know that children are cruel, and worry that she will be ridiculed and hurt because of her disability.

I thought that maybe a part of every child's education should include monthly "disability days" where one-half of the class becomes blind or deaf or disabled for a day and the other half helps them make it through. Where parents of children who have committed suicide because they couldn't live with the jaunts and judgment of other children another day come and speak of their pain and loss. Where young people who have succeeded in spite of their setbacks and disabilities come and speak.

We need to use every tool at our disposal to develop compassionate children who will become accepting and caring and nurturing and non-judgmental. Who will reach out to those who are different instead of tease them. Who will seek out children who have been hurt and abused instead of shunning them.

My heart aches for the children, like that little girl, who are trying to keep up in spite of what life handed them. I hope and pray that the world will be kind to them.


kenju said...

Nice post. You made me remember the compassion of my son when he was in middle school. I asked him why he was friends with a certain kid (who he had little in common with) and he replied..."If I wasn't friends with him, he'd have no friends." He was the same in college; quitting a frat because they refused to pledge his roommate, who was chunky. I have always been so proud of him - and I don't remember specifically teaching him that.

mamie said...

Kenju, this says as much about you as a mother as it says about your son. Thank you for being the kind of person who even unconsciously instilled compassion in your child.

Peggy Payne said...

The disability day is a terrific idea, Mamie.

mamie said...

I have a feeling, Peggy, that most of the teachers who read this said, "Don't we have enough to do??" And, "Hey, great idea, Mamie. Want to volunteer?"

Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

Ally said...

I think your idea is a precious one!!