Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Compassion > Judgment = True Inclusion

This morning I came across a blog post by a mother of two special needs kids about a site called Too Big. (I'm not gonna link the site, because I'm not wanting to drive traffic to it. Nor, do I care to even look at it.) The blog post is called Tides We Shouldn't Have To Swim Against .  In it the author, Julia Roberts, talks about how a site like Too Big helps spread the biased, discriminatory attitude that any of us with disabilities ourselves, or have children with disabilities/special needs face everyday.

Basically, from what I've gathered, the site is composed of pictures of kids with their faces somewhat covered that are in strollers that are beyond the typical size most kids would require one.  I already don't see how that is so funny, even if the kids don't have special needs.  What's even more, the idiots that make the site actually think it's worthwhile enough to make fun of little kids that they pay to put up a website to do it.  That's what caliber of people we're dealing with here.  I don't expect to make them understand somehow that what they're doing is not okay, and harmful.  When someone is that awful on the inside it would take much, much more than me and a few others complaining to get them to see, or care how they're affecting others.  I'm not sure that anything could get someone that is that much of a bully to change. I just hope that by saying something to others that may visit the site, or another like it at some point, we might put that little bit of knowledge in their head of the other side of what they're looking at.  That there may be more than meets the eye when you encounter something that seems out of the ordinary.  Maybe, instead of laughing and staring one ought to have a bit of compassion.  One of my favorite sayings is that 'you can't know everything about everybody.'  Meaning, that everyone has their own life, their own struggle, their own story, their own pain, their own private life and this affects how they behave and come across to others.  I find that it's best to always try to practice compassion when we encounter behavior or people we don't understand, because we can't always know the other side of the story.  It's when we look through the eyes of compassion that we can truly see the other person as they are, not who we think they are, or what attachment of ourselves we're putting onto them.  That's all our judgement is, anyway.  It's a biased belief we hold as a result of our perception of what we think we see, or don't see.

I hope that the Too Big site disappears soon due to lack of interest on the public's part.  I know that I have gotten the ugly looks when my son was younger and I still used a stroller.  It wasn't because he was unable to walk.  Much to the opposite, as he would run and was impossible to keep by my side at any given moment.  Add that to the fact that my older son was also a runner, I had to employ methods to keep them both safe.  Since, Beans was unable to even so much as acknowledge when he was being spoken to, much less follow directions, or hold my hand, I chose to use a stroller until he was about 5.  Then, I used a harness for about a year, which also garnered it's fair share of attention.  One thing I was adamant about was that I was not going to let others make me or my children feel inadequate.  I never once flinched in the adversity of stares, or kept Beans at home unless I thought he would be uncomfortable with where we were going.  He has every right to be out in public.  So, special needs parents everywhere... hold your head high and do what is best for your family even when it may not always be the most popular, or comfortable.  Inclusion means everyone.