Every baby is a gift, even if the wrapping is a little different.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How Dare She

My kids have been sick so I was holding my youngest son and watching TV. I happened upon a Dr. Phil show. I never watch Dr. Phil but thought I'd give it a try since it was about a bully and I was bullied a lot in elementary school.

The guest was a semi-attractive woman who openly admitted bullying people. At the grocery store, on different occasions, she'd reached into people's carts and pulled out foods she thought they shouldn't eat because they were fat and she told them so. She'd told a woman in a nightclub that no matter how long she looked in the mirror she'd never be attractive and she'd do the club a favor if she went home because her ugliness was detracting from the club.  She was rude to anyone and everyone who she came in contact with.

While the above was appalling, I was floored when she admitted to hating people with disabilities. She said they should all be put in institutions so she wouldn't have to look at them. And the worst was yet to come--she said she had a cousin with Down syndrome that she thought was disgusting. She'd given money to her grandparents so they could take the child and place it in a home so she wouldn't have to deal with this cousin. At one family party she was embarrassed by her cousin's attempt at dancing so she kicked her and knocked her to the ground. She said handicapped people make her sick and she doesn't want to see them anywhere. How dare she say such things and treat people this way.

I couldn't believe this woman and her attitude toward people, especially those with challenges. To think that my son may meet someone like her made me teary. Was this woman for real? Can someone actually be this heartless toward another human being, let alone someone who has a disability? Really?

On the heels of a comment made by a kid in my ward about my own son being retarded, this show made me want to take my sweet little boy and keep him from the world and protect him from such mean people. It has never bothered me that he has Down syndrome, but what bothers me is how people treat him, or may treat him in the future, because of it. It will be my trial to control my mouth when someone is mean to my son because of his chromosome count.

Having him sometimes gives me a small glimpse into what Heavenly Father must have felt when people treated His son with such disrespect and cruelty. The Savior deserved none of the cruel treatment he received. I can only hope that somehow I will be more like Heavenly Father when I see the same thing happen to my son.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The "R" Word

This morning I am trying extra hard to not be offended because I've just experienced what I'm sure will be down the road not only from those who are simply ignorant but also from those who are deliberately being mean.

My daughter told me that she was making a comment about her youngest brother just in passing. A young man in our ward turned to her and said, "You mean the retarded one?"

She replied, "He is not retarded."

He said, "Yes, he is. He's mentally retarded."

This is a kid who doesn't do well in school himself and in social situations is somewhat slow. If we look at the meaning of the word "retarded" it means to be delayed or to be slowed down. In that sense, this young man would certainly qualify for the term. In fact, applied in the academic sense, many children at our elementary school are "retarded" because they do not function on grade level.

However, in most cases this term is used to degrade someone else.

"Retard" is no longer used in the special needs community and has become such a derogatory term that it is offensive to those who are involved with the special needs community. We need to educate those around us. We do not need to perpetuate the idea that people with special needs are not valuable members of society.

I hope we can take the time to educate those around us and let people know that using the word "retard" is offensive and should never be used to degrade another human being. My son may have his challenges but so does everyone. He doesn't deserve to be mistreated simply because he has an extra chromosome.