There is no way that I am going to finish THAT sentence as one Halloween I did something so embarrassing there is no way I would want my mom to find out. Instead I am going to tell you how THIS Halloween I finished the 31 for 21 Challenge by posting every day.
It was a great month, but I questioned my goal of awareness. It seems to me that awareness it great. I want people to be aware that children like Bridget exist. Children (and adults) with challenges: the unknown, autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other diseases/syndromes.
Awareness alone, though should be be done. I think people are aware. After all there is very few of us who do not encounter a person with a disability at some point in our life. I understand that until you know a Bridget or someone like her, do not understand what it means to have a child or to be an adult with a disability.
Yet I understand that unless you have the blessing to have a Bridget in your life, you do not comprehend how wonderful it can be. That creating empathy is more important than showing sympathy.
I wonder if what we should be calling these days/months is a month of acceptance (insert cause here). That not all children (or people) are the same. That we all have challenges, each and every one of us.
Children with a disability are at 63% more at risk of being bullied by their typical peers. Parents of children with disability are more likely to divorce, to become hermits and to become suicidal.
Awareness is crucial to our children (and families) navigating this strange and difficult world. Our families need to be accepted for who we are: equal part tantrums and smiles.
Acceptance happens when not one but 20 friends take the pledge to never say the word retard again. Ever.
Acceptance occurs when parents do not allow their child to bully another.
Acceptance happens when slow down and hold the door for a person struggling, giving them a smile not a look of pity.
Acceptance is when you see a family in a restaurant with an out of control child and buy them a drink instead of asking your waitress to move your table.
Acceptance happens where Awareness ends and Empathy begins.
One Halloween I went on a rant about the importance of awareness and acceptance. Which is not how I expected to finish the sentence
Aww, perfect way to end this sentence and I know there was plenty I could have said to incriminate and embarrass myself, too for this sentence, but I wasn’t going there either. Happy Halloween 🙂
Congratulations on finishing the challenge! I agree, awareness seems to be here, but we definitely lacking empathy:(> But with write like you sharing your stories, it won’t be that way for long.
I totally love how you say we need more empathy as opposed to sympathy. I think the bullying is a learned behavior. You know as a parent of someone on the spectrum, I often find myself being bullied, like being the mom of special needs makes you a target for it too because they perceive you as weak because you are so overwhelmed. As rude as some of these parents get, no wonder their kids are A-hole juniors. It’s their kids who end up getting my sympathy and that of my special needs child. Some of us parents care about our kids enough to take care of them. Actually take care of them. If you spot a parent who isn’t overwhelmed, there’s a good chance they aren’t doing all the work.
I love how you finished the sentence my friend but I am DYING to know what was so embarrassing that you – to this day – do not want your mom to find out? You have to tell me!! And congratulations on finishing the challenge. Here’s to empathy and acceptance for ALL of our kids and omg I am terrified of them being bullied 😦
Pssst… go on … let us in on the scoop. Your mom won’t know. Ha! I too have many a tale – Halloween included – that won’t be shared. Thank you for this nudge re awareness and acceptance. And yes – I will offer the parents of an out of control littlie a drink the next time I’m seated next to them. Thank you.
I Loved your post about empathy and awareness, and would say amen to the above
however, wanna know about your halloween secret 😉
You’re such a tease. But you’re a tease with a big heart and a good spirit and a determination to make the world a better place. I applaud you for this rant. It was a good one to have.
Kerri: This is an important topic, and I am certainly hoping for more empathy. So far, we;ve been pretty lucky, I suppose, as we’ve not had much experience with bullying either of my oldest son or of us as parents. In part, I think that is because my son is a pretty happy autistic guy who also happens to be 6’3″. So he attracts NT kids who become his advocates — and would be bullies tend to stop and think about whether it is really a good idea to mess with him.
It’s still the perfect way to finish the sentence, though, isn’t it?
Empathy more than sympathy – yes. That is the next step. Congrats on completing the challenge, Kerri. Now you need to ‘fess up! You know you can’t tease us like that 🙂
No way will I give up that Halloween confession!
This was a beautiful entry. Raising awareness is important and requires good mouthpieces to get out the word. Congratulations on finishing the challenge!
Thank you, April. I really enjoyed challenging myself each day to finish. Raising awareness is so important to all of us, for all of our children.