I have recently come to a realization about people with Special Needs. There is so much to be said so I am breaking it down a little to organize my thoughts!
1. Children are so accepting
When children are young they are so accepting. They don’t see differences in other people; they see the beauty of others. I believe that it is because children have a pure heart and are connected more closely to how God sees all of us: beautiful and unique. When I was 2 years old, my mom was running a daycare and started watching a little boy that was the same age as I was. He had a condition called Crouzon Syndrome – a condition from premature fusion of the plates of the skull and deformity of the skull. It did not cause any mental disabilities, but it did cause him to look different. Often people would mistake him for having Down Syndrome. When preparing for this article, I asked my mom if I ever asked why my friend was different. She told me “you didn’t even see that he was different, we explained why he looked different and needed help breathing at night, but you didn’t care, you just saw a friend.” He and I were best friends for years and still check up on each other when we can.
This is a picture of a child with Crouzon Syndrome:
Another example is when I took my children to our church choir practice. A little girl with Down Syndrome was sitting next to me while I was holding our 9 month old. When she came up to see my baby, they made eye contact like they knew each other and they talked to each other like they totally could understand what the other person was saying. It was truly beautiful and magnificent to watch.
I have also seen times when my son, who is 4 years old, asked questions about people who are obviously different than we are. Like: “Why is that person in a wheel chair?” or “Why does that person have a cast?” It is really amazing to me to see their curiosity for the world and how some things are just different. I believe that they see the beauty in the differences in the world, where others may get uncomfortable with people who are different.
2. Society teaches them to be afraid of things that are different
I believe that society or even adults teach children to be uncomfortable around people who look or act differently. When a child asks about why another child may be different, they shush and shoo them away quickly so the parents aren’t embarrassed by curious children asking questions. It is sad to me, honestly. When our society sees something that makes them uncomfortable in any way, often the reaction is to react harshly to criticize and even bully those who cause them to feel that discomfort. I believe that God made us all different, including those who have special needs, physically and mentally so that we can appreciate beauty of individuality.
3. See beauty in our differences
After having children of my own, I have come to realize one major thing: they often teach me more than I can teach them. Children are so unique and can often see things in the world in such a different way, that we as adults have gone blind to over time. Children can also often see the beauty in others when we as adults have gone to blind to it. A child doesn’t care if their parents have blond, or black hair, if their best friend is African American or Hispanic, if you are fat or skinny – children just have a pure heart that is willing to just love.
I found a video that goes well with what I am trying to express. It is in Spanish and even though I do not speak Spanish I believe the message is clear.
Notice that at the beginning there are children who scoot away from the little boy. Who taught them to do that? Why is Maria so accepting of him when others are impatient and even scared of him?
There is a children’s song that goes like this:
If you don’t walk as most people do,Some people walk away from you,But I won’t! I won’t!If you don’t talk as most people do,Some people talk and laugh at you,But I won’t! I won’t!I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.That’s how I’ll show my love for you.Jesus walked away from none.He gave his love to ev’ryone.So I will! I will!Jesus blessed all he could see,Then turned and said, “Come, follow me.”And I will! I will!I will! I will!I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.
I believe it is our jobs as parents and adults to teach our children to accept others as God has made them. We should teach them to see the beauties in others and not be scared or uncomfortable about what makes them different. Now how do we do that?
4. Most people are willing to answer questions
Whenever I have personally come across someone who might have a member of their family with special needs they are more than willing to answer any questions that people may have about their special family member. I also have seen that those who have members in their family who have special needs often believe that that special family member is the biggest blessing that they could have been given.
I am linking an article from a recent issue of a Christian magazine of a mother’s experience with a special needs daughter.
Choose to love that person. Sometimes there are people in our lives that we need to choose to love. There are people that may cause us some discomfort because they act differently. Love is a choice and we can choose to love others that may be hard to love to begin with, but I believe soon we will realize that we were silly not to love them all along.
I have noticed that it is often through these beautiful children that we are are able to grow so much more than we would have been able to without them in our lives. Each individual life is so beautiful and part of our life journey is seeing that beauty!
Please share your thoughts and experiences with me?