Sunday, February 3, 2013

Make A Stand

Pervasive Parenting
By Kodey Toney
Make a Stand
I have a huge fear. My fear is that someday Konner will be in middle school. I know that sounds strange, but if we think back to middle school we can remember how rough that time was. There was awkwardness all round. If you hadn’t grown into your feet yet, you had too much acne, or you were a little too lanky for your body people would make fun of you. Nobody was exempt from the ridicule. It was just a rite of passage. Even the “cool kids” in your class were being made fun of by the people older than them.
I know it’s going to happen, and sooner than I care to think, but I just know that this will be worse for him than others. If I’m being honest, and I feel most of you were too, I was guilty of making fun of people throughout middle school.... Not because I really believed what was coming out of my mouth, but I thought that if I didn’t I wouldn’t be cool, and I would be the one made fun of instead.
So why am I telling this. There are several reasons I guess. Number one is that I really feel guilty lately for things in the past. I can’t think of any one incident that happened where I really made fun of anyone, but I know that I did, and I’m guessing that the person that I made fun of probably remembers. He/she will probably remember for the rest of their lives. If that is the case then I want to apologize.
These days I when I watch a movie that makes fun of someone with a disability I don’t really laugh anymore. I just think, why do people think that’s funny? Why did I think that was funny?
I want others to know that you are not alone if you have done this. Like me, you can help to change things. You can step in to help others with disabilities. Be the voice that stands up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Advocate for others. Help them out in any way you can.
Perhaps the most important thing is that you talk to your children. Let them know that they shouldn’t make fun of others. They should stand up for others as well. They shouldn’t let others bully anyone else. This is where so many of the problems in our schools these days stem from. Explain to them that further down the line this will affect a child tremendously, but if a child with autism knows that they have someone who respects them enough to stand up for them it will help their self-esteem.
Don’t forget, most children with autism have social issues. If we show them that they have a friend then it will help them.
It’s funny how things change. You think differently when it’s your child that has a disability. I’m not sure now if there are many people I know who don’t know someone with a disability in their family or close to them.
Let’s not forget that everyone is a person. We are human. We have feelings. We need to show compassion to everyone. Don’t ever feel like they don’t understand you, hear you, or care what you say about them. It is simply not true. Don’t forget the golden rule in life; it goes for everyone.

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