Thursday, February 28, 2013

When the kids outdo adults on acceptance...

It seems I'm moving up in the blogger pool. I've gone from being the slime covering the bottom to the aquatic insect larvae that eats the slime. I've had a few posts featured here and there and (I AM THE BEST MOTHER EVER ! ~~~hacked by Walter <->and I am totally keeping that.) and I got a few ...*cough*unexpected*cough*... comments. You've got the uber helpful comment suggestions on changing the kid's diet or seeking counseling because, apparently, special needs parents aren't allowed to have a bad day or something and then comes the part where the kids aren't allowed to be the evil little creatures they are some days and if they are being the evil little creatures they are some days, you should totally beat them with your Bible because if you don't, you are raising the devil. serious. Ok, well, that wasn't a direct quote, but "spare the rod, spoil the child" was definitely mentioned. and warning against raising the devil.


I'd like to say, first of all, that I am a believer. I do love the Word of God but I'm not a big fan of this interpretation of what is said there. This, however, which can be found in Matthew 18...
3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5“And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
...tells me that although I may not be right for not beating the Hell out of them, I sure am not wrong for loving them through their hardest days and doing my best to teach by example- in both successes and failures.

My purpose in saying that is not to attack the Bible (both scriptures are found there) or someone else's beliefs (which they are totally entitled to). My purpose is to illustrate differing opinions, differing interpretations, differing views, differing perspectives- none of which are necessarily "wrong" when you actually look at what is said and see both sides of it. and the fact that my kids are my kids and I will do whatever the hell I want to do with them because you aren't the boss of me. So, *neener*. (Had to throw that in there.)

The point is the comments and bigger blogging. It makes me question what I want. I've never really been much on ambition or aspiring to greatness in any world, much less the online autism world. I'm happy with my small group of people who occasionally like me. I love that my small group of people are nice and not judgmental in the least little bit. I like that you respect my page, you respect me and each other enough to follow my rules of playing nice. I love that fact that you don't tell me what I should believe or how I should raise my children. You share your experiences and ideas without condemning me for mine. I love that. so much. but just moving up to insect larvae has me a bit nervous about what I'm swimming into and questioning if I really want that.

My friend Jim is a bigger blogger with more awesome things to talk about, more real things, more important things. He writes his own blog, Just a Lil Blog, and writes for Childsplay. He's BIG. and being BIG, Jim is loved by many... and hated by just as many. Everything he does, everything he says is watched. put under a microscope. and then ripped apart. He is a popular Target. The other day sometime, he shared a story about a boy and his basketball...




and then he was ripped apart. Reading the words thrown at him broke my heart, reading his responses to the insults and accusations as more and more people joined in to attack him made me more proud than ever to have this man on my friend list. He is amazing. and I totally agree with him. (He'd still be amazing if I didn't, just so you know)  

The media spin on this and other similar stories is ridiculous, it pisses me off. Making people into heroes for being nice to the poor disabled kid. Giving them a big pat on the back for throwing a dog a bone. It's disgusting. I can't argue there ... BUT, the event was a beautiful thing. It does warm the cockles of my heart because of what I see.  

I see our kids being raised in a whole new time. I see them growing up in a time of acceptance, understanding, awareness. I see kids who know.

I see my boys growing up with an autistic brother and truly seeing their peers as peers, as friends, as equals- disabled or not- because they are more accepting than any of the kids we went to school with. I see their friends treating Alex and their similarly affected friends with respect and at times affection because they are aware. I see kids that wanted to make a peer's dream come true and did what they could to make that happen. They didn't do it for the glory, they did it for Mitchell. because they understood how important this was for him.  

I see kids who understand my Goofy one needs a little extra help. Kids who give him extra directions when he needs them, kids who look out for him on the playground, who include him in their playing, who see him as a friend and accept his issues as being part of who he is- no questions asked. and do their best to help him navigate a confusing environment. To make sure he is with them, not just being dragged along.

I see kids who get excited to see Alex come to the playground, who run around with him because what he likes to do is run and they don't expect him to change for them. They are willing to go more than halfway to meet him. The chase him and make him laugh, they smile and wave to him in the halls with a "Hi, Alex!", they see him and accept him- no questions asked. To make sure he is included, that he is part of them and not just some weird kid on the outside.

I see kids who are good kids, who are willing to give the extra support because they can, because they want to. Not because they will get anything in return, but because they are growing up in a world where it's ok to be different and it's cool to treat everyone with respect. They take the Marine's determination to never leave a man behind to a whole new level. The school yard level. and that warms my heart. 

In the comments on Jim's post, I see people with differing opinions, differing interpretations, differing views, differing perspectives who don't want us to have differing opinions, differing interpretations, differing views, differing perspectives. If you don't think the way they think, if you don't feel the way they feel, if you don't see the way they see... well, then, you can't be their friend. You are an outsider, you are wrong, you are an enemy because there is no room for difference. I think it's about time we start looking to our kids to teach us a little something about unconditional acceptance.

Until we can learn that... I sure am not looking forward to catching the attention of those bigger fish.

18 comments:

  1. So big...soooooo big. I know...I know, that's what SHE said.

    But thanks for the vote of confidence...I have to really think about the weird balance in stuff like this between compassion and condescension...between being nice...and being exploitative. I don't have fantastic handle on it, and it's good to get opposing views, even if they are sometimes a bit...condescendingly stated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, Jim!

      Yes, opposing views are great. I love to know what others are thinking because how do you learn without listening? It's the attacks I can't handle.

      Delete
  2. I also get sick of the judgemental, nasty, holier than thou attitude of some people. It's their way or the highway! well, so long!! I won't miss you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. oh...sincerely, thank you for your kind words.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The comment threads are actually my least favorite part of Facebook! It is like the game Telephone. Somehow by the end you are not really sure what the original intent was. Thanks for writing this and keeping us in the space we should be when we encounter each other whether in person or in prose.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Personally I think those people are just jealous because Jim's blog is better than theirs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can totally see that, Kristy. No one can compare to the awesomeness that is Jim's blog.

      Delete
  6. Love you, love Jim, and am ever so grateful to be a very small bit of scum at the bottom of the pond. Much like being bullied at school all those years ago, my reaction to a lot of this stuff is to get way pissed off, then burst into tears. Jim handles the bullies with astonishing grace (I am sure he will let that go to his head). You are two of my favorite people I have never met IRL. And somehow people need to let go of the idea that when someone disagrees, it isn't abuse. When they respond with invective and venom, THAT is abuse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love being at the bottom! The people are so down to earth there! ;)

      What doesn't go to Jim's head? but... yes he does. over and over he proves who he is. #RESPECT.

      Yes. <3

      Delete
  7. I am doing something wrong I think. I looked all over and can't find the post your friend made about the basketball game that garnered so much anger. Did he say the kid who passed the ball was just being decent and isn't a hero?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He didn't say anything! He just shared the video and the comment thread on his personal page went straight to Hell.

      Delete
  8. Great post Mac! I've seen many kids who "get it" too. For me, there's nothing better than seeing my son included and completely accepted by his peers. <3

    ReplyDelete