When the movie Wonder came out (and everyone rooted for Auggie and the awesome kids in the movie who all became best friends) many schools including my children's used this great movie and book as a learning tool to teach about kindness and acceptance of all people. It’s such a lovely concept, but the reality is once the movie lights go back on or we get to the end of our book we quickly forget and sadly put kindness on the back burner.
Some time has passed and I the parent of a child that is wonderfully quirky, wired a bit differently than some of his peers, honest to a fault and quite frankly one of the funniest people I know, hardly gets invited to things. Honestly, I’m not writing this because I want people to feel sorry for us or others who are in similar situations. The fact is, I don’t want my child to be around people who don’t appreciate who he is. We don’t need anyone’s pity. We simply need you to be kind and teach your children to do the same. Don’t just do it for the moment; do it and have it to be part of who you are...part of who your family is. Most families that have a child that may be wired differently and struggles to fit in, signed up in a variety of different classes so they learn how to socialize. I truly think that it should be a standard class taught to all children, and quite frankly, their parents too. I truly believe that if we all lived by the Golden Rule - treat others the way you want to be treated - the world would be a place we would all feel proud of.
So as you are reading this, ask yourself what can I do that will help bring forth a much-needed change. Should children and adults be ostracized simply because they don’t fit into the cookie cutter that society calls “normal”? For a moment, try and put yourself in that person’s shoes. Try and put yourself in their family’s shoes. My heart is filled with hope for humanity, but sadly it gets chipped away by the harsh realities I witness. This message is not just for my children, but for all of us. I am happily quirky, outspoken, empathetic person who does not fit in with the cookie-cutter mold either, but I am an adult with thick skin. Our children have yet to be hardened to the harshness the world sometimes delivers. You often hear people say “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. So if we see our children not accepting another child because they are “different”, I invite you to go look in the mirror and ask yourself is that what I do too? I leave you with this thought “Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping poured into your hands-all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you." Luke 6:38 GNT