Today at therapy a little girl, about five years old, walked by Reagan as she was in her walker and pointed and laughed at her. It was quick, it was as she passed by. And the little girl was being led out by her therapist to the waiting room to whoever was there for that child. The irony is, that girl is in therapy for something she needs help with….just like Reagan. Maybe she’s been laughed at, I don’t know.
Initially when she pointed and laughed, I thought to myself, “oh..she’s young, she doesn’t know any better.” But I was wrong in that assumption. She should know better…is it possible her parents haven’t taught her compassion? B/c let’s be honest parents, compassion is a learned trait, and it’s taught by YOU.
It was my first glimpse into how other children, who are not kind, may act toward Reagan and as I continued to think about it…all this righteous anger started boiling up within me. As I replayed it in my mind, part of me wanted to unleash on the five year old and whoever was poorly parenting her (see what I’m talking about…I was getting seriously ticked off just driving and thinking about it). But, I know that’s not the right thing to do.
This short five second interaction (which Reagan didn’t even know happened) made me wonder how Rob and I would handle these inevitable situations. And that’s why I have a PSA for you today. B/c when we encounter this rude behavior down the road, I’ll have thought about how to react for a looooong time. Hopefully it comes out pleasant, but I can’t make any guarantees.
So, when your child sees another person in a walker, or in a wheelchair, or struggling in ways they don’t understand, take a moment to talk with them and teach them about compassion.
What that little girl was pointing and laughing at, was Reagan doing this.
Do you think this video is funny?
If you’ve been following Reagan’s story, I know you find it awesome. If you know Reagan’s story, you know that she endured a traumatic event that altered the course of her life. You know that seeing her in this walker is her thriving and is her overcoming a thousand things the Dr.’s said she would never do. So, talk with your kids about what it might mean for a child to look different, and why it’s important to still cheer them on, still smile and still say hi. You teach your kids it’s WRONG to laugh. You teach your kids it’s WRONG to point. Do you want me to take my finger and push it into your chest and ask you what’s WRONG with YOU as a PARENT for not instilling compassion, let alone common courtesy, into YOUR child? I promise, you don’t want to have that conversation with me. B/c guess what I’ll be instilling into Reagan during an interaction like that? I have your back, baby. I have your back forever and for always and you can count on me.
Teach your kids how to be kind and how to be loving to other kids who are differently abled, they could even be friends with them. How your child acts towards kids like Reagan is a reflection of you…just remember that.
Update: Through dialogue brought about by this blog, I’ve learned that there are diagnoses on the autism spectrum that could explain the little girl laughing inappropriately. Further, many other children could struggle with things that I’m not aware of, and even though it would have been helpful for that girls parents to have been there to explain/apolgize, it’s not really necessary. I also need to exercise compassion and understanding. I know bullying and insensitivity could be part of this road we are on with Reagan, seeing it aimed at her, being that she’s so young, was tough. And yes…I am a big mamma bear. But I can still learn, still admit that I could have given more understanding and compassion and I am thankful that positive dialogue was brought about. As one person said, that this blog “conversation leads to awareness which leads to understanding and acceptance.”