PSA to Parents on Compassion

September 10, 2014

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.

View More:

don’t mess with my baby

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.

//end rant//

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.”

comments +

  1. Melissa

    September 10th, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    What a little Rock Star in her walker! She’s making HUGE strides. I love this video, I don’t think it’s funny, I think its incredibly inspiring.

  2. Terry Lulofs

    September 10th, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    I am hoping that the little girl thought Reagan was cute and that is why she pointed and laughed. Sometimes little kids react in different ways than what we would consider polite. At least that is my hope.

  3. Diane

    September 11th, 2014 at 12:04 am

    You are right that parents need to “parent” better. However, this little girl may have had issues way beyond her therapy session and not the result of bad parenting. I cannot remember what it is called but, there is a condition that makes people react incorrectly to a perceived situation.

  4. Anne-Marie

    September 11th, 2014 at 12:56 am

    You know Diane, you could be right…I’m not sure. But either way, it’s a good reminder. Thanks for bringing that insight to the forefront.

  5. carmen

    September 11th, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Hi Anne Marie – love this post. I have been working with Marley since she was a baby on compassion for others who are different. Marley was born with a cleft and I knew she would face teasing and face others who wouldn’t be compassionate. Since we have been working on this – Marley has befriended a girl in her summer camp with down syndrome, this girl was unable to be left at camp unless Marley was there to comfort her. She also is extremely close to a friend she made last year in K – he is in a wheelchair and has had multiple surgeries. We visited him in the hospital and we go to his house often for play dates. I completely feel Marley may not know how to interact with those who are different if I didn’t teach her. Small children learn a lot by seeing their parents behavior and interactions. My wish is that more parents would feel that its important to teach their children compassion for others.
    Reagan is amazing, you are amazing!!!

  6. Jess

    September 11th, 2014 at 10:57 am

    A.M. You’re so kick @$$!! And that walker action is amazing go Reagan go!

  7. alina y

    September 12th, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    It is very important that we teach our children compassion, because that’s what Jesus taught. Your story touched our hearts. I am pregnant with baby #3 and was just browsing YouTube for baby videos( I like to watch those) that’s how I stumbled across your adoption video and I went on you website. We will be keeping your little girl in our prayers so that she is healed completely. Very strong little girl you have there. God bless you.

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