Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Spin Cycle- Appearances

I'm spinning early this week.  It's not often that life hands me a Spin, but this weekend, it did.  This week's topic is "appearances".

This weekend was beautiful in NE Ohio (I know, you're about to pass out from the shock).  The weather was warm the sun was out.  The Badger Clan headed out to the local park on Saturday to see if we could run off some little boy energy before nap time.  LG had a great time exploring all the jungle gyms, and climbing apparatus.  Since he was by himself, he occasionally tried to engage some of the other kids that were playing.  Most had other siblings with them, so after the initial, "Hi" they went on their own way.  One little boy was also alone, though.  He was more than willing to scramble through the tunnels and down the slides with LG.  

At first all I noticed was that he was a little bit bigger than LG.  Maybe 4 or 5.  Then my radar went off.  Most 4 or 5 year old little boys want no part of waiting for a younger kid, never mind being encouraging or hold their hand.  On closer inspection, the little boy was wearing hearing aids in both ears.  It occurred to me that patience must come with all this little boy's territories.  He might be happy to have a littlier kid to hang out with, it's probably less pressure for him.  So, I just sat back and watched.  They seemed to get along really well.

At one point LG finally noticed the little boys hearing aids, and made a grab for the wires behind his ears.  I immediately jumped up to pull his hand back an make him apologize.  But I was too late.  The little boy had already taken LGs hand, very gently, and was trying to explain to him what the hearing aid was for.  I was amazed.  He knew just how to handle my two year old, what to say and how to explain.  Far, far better than I ever would have.  Here, I was ready to defend this little boy, and he didn't need it at all.  He wasn't helpless or challenged at all, he was just patient and friendly.

What interests me most is that LG didn't see this little boy as "different" in any way, except that he had something curious in his ears.  It might as well have been a baseball cap or shoes that light up.  He was curious, but not in that "I want to know what's WRONG with you" way.  More of an, "Oooh, that's shiny" kind of curiosity.

I'd like to think that I don't see people as dis-abled, but rather differently abled.  But apparently, I don't.  Even though I didn't judge the little boy as having a handicap, I still thought he needed more help than the average 4 year old would.  All the I'm happy to say I was wrong in my thinking, though.  Hopefully, all the differently abled people LG meets in life are as open and honest as this little boy.  Maybe the next generation will not have to "learn" that we're all equals, they just won't know any different.  (Is "differently abled" what we're supposed to say, now, by the way?  I don't want to offend anyone.  Please correct me if there is a better way to say it.)

20 comments:

Captain Dumbass said...

I'm sure there's a different term, but they seem to change so often it's hard to keep up.

VandyJ said...

Kids sure do show us how we should be. Of course that honesty can go the other way too.

Jan said...

I'm with the Captain on this one - what passes for political correctness changes so often it's hard to keep up. But you're right - a kid like that isn't disabled at all.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

My daughter wore hearing aids till she was 5 so this one got to me. You handled this wonderfully and your son is obviously a great little guy being raised by a great mom that he didn't see a disabled kid.
I wrote in a post about my daughter's hearing, that I learned a lot about kids by how they responded to ny daughter's aids. I guess I was probably learning a lot about their parents too.
Great Spin!

only a movie said...

I work so far deep in the land of special education that I don't know what the politically correct terms are these days. In general, the only way to refer to anyone is by their name first - not their disability. But many Deaf people see that differently.
Anyway - great spin. :-)
I suspect I could pull a spin on this topic... though I am migraine impaired this week.

gretchen said...

I found this very touching. And I agree with Maureen that both LG and the hearing impaired boy seem to have gentle, loving hearts. It's amazing the way kind children gravitate to each other!

Sprite's Keeper said...

LG's quick acceptance of of someone else's difference is a great affirmation of how you're raising him. There's a little girl in Sprite's class who has a hearing aid in one ear. The kids call it her "listening ear" since the teachers constantly tell the kids to put their listening ears on. The others are jealous that she actually has one!
Great Spin!
You're linked!

Patty O. said...

I love this post. I have a son with autism, so I think sometimes I do what you did, which is to assume that the child (usually mine) needs help, when often he/she really doesn't. Kids are so amazingly resilient and a you so eloquently point out, we can sure learn a lot from them. I love that your experience highlights how we can learn from both the children with disabilities and the ones without. Great, thought-provoking post!

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

The other week we met a little girl with a deformed arm. Jonathan was fascinated with that arm and kept reaching for her deformed fingers. He was fascinated, but he also enjoyed just playing with her. It's amazing how they don't really care what their "handicap" is. They simply see everyone as equals. If only adults could learn from that.

Heather said...

Such a wonderful post. Just in the way the little boy handled the situation says soo much about his parents and himself.

When I was in school most kids that had aids tried to hide them and sorta showed shame for having one. I really think those days are gone, thank goodness.

Kids really do have a way of teaching us how we should be with each other.

CaJoh said...

I think that there are too many people who like to point out their differences as a sense of pride. Like being special has its privileges. It is refreshing to see someone who knows their uniqueness and is open to explaining it to those that are unaware.

Thank you for this eye opening spin,

suzicate said...

This is an amazing post. I think children are much more accepting than adults. There's a lot we can learn from the little ones. Thanks for sharin this.

Pines Lake Redhead said...

Great post! Both your son and the other little boy are amazing young men.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

I love this, Mama B! Just goes to show you are absolutely a great mom and raising your awesome little one right! :)

Cristin said...

As Mommy to a Deaf boy, just LOVING this post. Acutally got me a little teary eyed... your boy can come play with my Deaf kid anytime.

Oh, and I never liked the term 'differently abled'. As Mom to a kid with several challenges, I prefer the term "F**ked up kid"... but I'm wicked wrong in the head.

Joanie M said...

This is a wonderful post! I hope your son made a new friend.

pegbur7 said...

This is a great post. Thanks for your spin on appearances. Kids are much better at this kind of thing than adults.

Rikki said...

This is a great spin! As a teacher to the big kids, it is always amazing and wonderful to see that they know how to treat people with love and respect - thanks to great parents like you.

Bumby Scott said...

Great Spin. keep up the good work

Always Bumby

Mrsbear said...

I love it when kids surprise us. Just when we want to "help" they prove they can handle themselves just fine. Great post.