Some days its difficult to not get caught up in the “buts” of this world. The excuses to not perform. This is only complicated by todays society, which appears very “me” oriented. As a special needs parent, it is easy to try and play both sides of the coin. I deserve or my child deserves this and then how dare you treat me or my child different because of the disability. She has rights. I have played both sides of this coin. Have you?
When Mel was young I had the pleasure of meeting up with a group of teens from the local high school. As we chatted, kids with disabilities came up. I asked them their opinion of a student, at their local high school, who had Spina Bifida. They were quick to chime in on how nice she was, yes she was their friend, and so forth. As they became more comfortable the “but” occurred. The girls felt this child could do more and used her disability to get out of everything difficult. They felt she used it as an excuse to gain access to the easy path. It was simply their impression on her. It made me think; however, about how I wanted my Mel to be perceived as a teenager.
Today I ponder, have I been the example I wanted to be? How many times have I demonstrated to Mel, Coleman or Shandra examples of living a Christian life. How many times I have used an excuse, any excuse, especially the disability excuse, to get my way. When the family stood at the handicapped entrance of Six Flags and Disney Land; did we really need to take the short line, or was I just using Mel to get easy access. I recall a trip to New York. The family could have gotten up at 6Am to be at the front of this line or that; however, we often slept in. We knew, with Mel, we would probably get front row access. Did we really need a free special needs screening? How many times did I play the disability card, in front of my kids? Was I not doing what the teens perceived this other teen as doing; so many years earlier?
I have sat in parent meetings and in less than 60 min had a parent insist their child not be treated special and then turn right around and demand special consideration. I have had parents insist I not treat their child differently and then the minute the child gets a bad grade, want .
Todays society is very “me” driven. Examples of this are everywhere, special needs or not. How is this trend going to impact not only our kids but our kid’s kids? Is this ability to play whichever hand benefits us going to move the disability movement forward or backwards? Is it going to leave those who know us and our kids saying the same thing the teens girls were saying 12 years ago?
Last week our youth leader said, “When your actions are rooted in knowing God’s love there are less excuses in your life.” I’m hoping this blog will come to mind next time I pull out the “Disability Excuse”.