I have a lot to say.
But first, I want you to save this article to read for later: 30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself.
I have to split the post because it’s too long, so be sure to click on “Read more” to finish up. Please and thank you.
Who made up the rule that pink is for girls and blue is for boys?
Who decided that only girls can paint their fingernails?
Why can only girls like Justin Bieber’s music?
Who said boys play with cars and bugs and girls play house and with dolls?
Who said only girls can be cheerleaders?
All of these things are superficial and silly. Not one of those defines a person as male or female. So when my son says “mom I want to paint my nails” I say “why not?” It doesn’t hurt anything, if anything it strengthens his confidence to be an independent and individual human being.
He learns the important things, like being confident/not being afraid to be different, to be kind, compassionate, honest, loyal and responsible. All of that other stuff? Does that even matter?
My son is fortunate (or misfortunate depending on your views) that my husband and I reject most “normal” societal rules. We are not in the least bit traditional. Will we let him do anything dangerous? Heck no, but we’re not going to keep him from defining himself simply because it’s “not what boys usually do.”
Yesterday, on campus, I had the misfortune to witness 3 college students walk past a man in a wheel chair who was asking for help. They even went so far as to look at him, then walked away like they were afraid of either helping him or to be seen helping him. I couldn’t not stop, and all he needed was help getting his water bottle situated on his tray. I could tell someone helped him fill it with fresh water because it was cold, but it hadn’t been put in securely and fell over. He also made me check to be sure that none of the water had spilled because he didn’t want anyone to slip and get hurt.
What bothers me is that it probably wasn’t an isolated even for people to pass by him without paying him any attention (I have seen him on campus before). It angers me and saddens me because this man has full mental capacity, but it’s obvious that his body is dying (he has lost the use of his legs and has very little use from his hands, it reminded me of the way my brother’s left side looks from his cerebral palsy so I am assuming it is a degenerative neurological disorder of some kind). How frustrating that must be for him to be fully aware of the way people look at him in disgust and fear.
I push and push and push for parents to teach their children to act compassionately towards those with disabilities. Not with pity, not with fear, and certainly not with disgust. The truth is that any one of us could develop a neurological disorder that results in paralysis, any one of us could be in an accident that leaves us without the use of our arms or legs… and do these kids, these college students, realize that one of the most brilliant scientific minds of our generation (maybe of all time) is bound to a wheelchair and uses a computer to talk (Steven Hawking)?
So basically, there are things about this world we live in that I wish I can change, but I am only one person. I am trying to decide how I can make an impact here, on campus. I think it’s time for a trip to the disabilities office…
What else am I going to do? I am going to take my brother out with me for a day when I visit for the holidays. I think I’ll take him to see the new Muppet Movie (he LOVES the Muppets).
Justin Bieber’s new single: