Last month, Abi’s Place, a facility who services children with ASD and other specific disabilities, opened their doors to some young leaders in our community to focus on accepting those who might be different. These teens were encouraged to engage with children who have physical and mental disabilities.
They embraced their new friends by doing such things like playing games, sharing a smile, giving words of encouragement, and helping where they were needed. Afterwards, one teen commented how nice it was to see that our students enjoyed the same sports and music that they did. Another teen recognized how much they take being able to fully use their hands for granted when other children with disabilities cannot. There was definitely a new found appreciation.
It really only took a few minutes to slow down and get to know each other to realize how alike they really are.
In today’s media, people are so quick to judge one another. What kind of message are we sending to our kids when we do this? You think that you would never make fun of someone with a disability, but you would be surprised. I am proud to have shared this time at Abi’s Place with these teens who might think twice in the future before judging somebody for who they are. Hopefully this exposure created some sensitivity on the subject of judging others.
Taking a moment to reflect on myself, I very rarely express myself as I feel these are my thoughts, my opinions, and I might as well just keep them to myself for the most part. I feel no need to share, but lately I find myself saying something to others that I truly believe. I do not judge! Being a woman of faith might have something to do with it, but I know my life is not perfect. I have a child with mental and physical disabilities and simply never take anything for granted.
If people choose to share stories with me that might be personal, funny, embarrassing, or traumatic, who am I to judge? They are confiding in me orally, releasing stress, fear, and shame. In many ways, I am sure it feels good to let these inner thoughts out. It might give clarity to a silver lining or take some weight off their shoulders. At least that is the way I choose to think. Again, I would never judge.
I do not try to walk in anyone else’s shoes, but my own. I try to be the best I can be while juggling everything life throws at me. God knows I am doing the best I can. Life is busy… juggling being a wife, a mom, a friend, a professional, a volunteer, a sister, a daughter, a mentor, a cook, personal shopper, planner. Hopefully you get the point. We all wear a lot of hats, but I do not walk in anyone else’s shoes nor would I really want to. I have enough on my plate and we are all are doing the best we can.
So it puzzles me when people choose to mock or judge others, whether that happens on social media, television, or even within close intimate groups. Why does everyone feel a need to comment or cast their opinion these days? Did your mother not teach you that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all?
I ask as you read this blog today, please do not cast your opinion on others. You have no idea what someone is really dealing with on a day to day basis. Instead simply smile, say hello, and be friends.