Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Teach Your Children

Now.  Teach them now; while they're still young, still without bias or social grace.  Teach them that not every child in the world is like them - and not only in mundane, expected ways like hair color or glasses - but vital, noticeable, drastic ways.  Ways that include feeding tubes and braces and alarms and machines.  Ways that mean not being able to move at all - or not being able to control spastic movement.  Ways that mean not being able to make a sound - or maybe making loud, nonverbal noises.

Now.  Teach them while you're in your living room.  Get a book from the library.  Find a way to incorporate it into their play.  Don't wait for the out-in-public starefest (remember the aforementioned lack of social grace?)  I know kids stare at all kinds of things, and I personally don't mind anyone coming up to us and asking about Lucy, and really much prefer it to the silent, questioning stare, but there are people who do not wish themselves or their children to be a learning experience, no matter how well-intentioned.  It's well within your ability to head it off and start discussing it now.

Now.  Teach them now.  Teach them before they run into my mostly sweet, mostly outgoing (she is only almost 4, there is still quite a bit of sass and caution there!) Lucy, and hide from her.  I understand that the machines and stroller - and DIFFERENCE - is all very big and very intimidating to a small child, but a parent talking to them about it, introducing the possibility into their forming mind, can make all the difference.  To them, and to Lucy.

I don't know if Lucy is hurt by it yet, or even realizes why some children are so scared.  Why they won't talk to her, refusing to acknowledge her smile or yell.  But I can tell you, I do realize.  And to be frank, I'm tired of it.  I understand they are children, and you can't make them act a certain way, or accept something - BELIEVE me, I understand! - but you have the power to make it a possibility.  It's possible that instead of hiding behind you, they will step forward.  Maybe instead of tugging on your arm to get away from Lucy, they will return the smile, as they stare at her.  Maybe your teaching them will make a difference.  To both of them.