I am a bit broken hearted.
Adults, don’t be afraid of children with special needs. Don’t be afraid to answer your child’s questions when they see someone in a store that might look or act a bit different from them.
As a former special education teacher my heart truly hurts when I watch people and their reactions to those who are “different”. I don’t believe it is out of a ugly heart, but an uneducated one.
Many years I would go into some of our general education classrooms and speak to the students about how everyone is different and special in their own way. I would show the children how we all are different….different colors, different sizes, different in the way we learn, play and even eat! Some of the regular classroom teachers felt it would help if their students understood why Johnny didn’t look at them when he was spoken to….. It wasn’t that Johnny was being mean, it was just hard for him to look his friends in the eyes. But he still wanted to be included and he still wanted to have friends.
For several years I watched these students take their friends that were “different” under their wings. They watched out for them on the playground and in the classroom. These behaviors indeed warmed my heart.
We also had those discussions in my classroom. I had a special education classroom with varied “differences” and levels. I was very honest with them each and every day in every way I could be…..I allowed the older ones to mentor the younger ones. I explained that we all had “differences” and that is what made each and every one of them so special. I told them over and over how special they were and how each one of them was created for a special purpose.
So parents……PLEASE talk to your children about other children that are different from them. Allow them to ask questions, they just want to be honest. Don’t allow them to be rude, but don’t shy away from the tough questions. They will react to “different” as they see you react. Sometimes I have even seen parents talk about their children in the middle of the aisle while the kiddos get acquainted! Now that is a heartwarming sight!
God created each of us with our differences…we are all “special” in that way! Let’s embrace them!
*NIV Bible, personal graphics