Inspirational, Such a Blessing, Extra Special
All words to describe special needs kids. More so when they are little verses older depending on the level of difficulty and effort perceived by the rest of the world to do certain things. Words used by parents when blogging and by friends and relatives as they discuss the child.
I am wondering how this impacts the child. The child’s outlook on themselves and their own perception of their purpose in life. Kids think about the future, they think about whom they are and what they want. I’m not sure they think about life’s purpose but in a concrete way they know their place in a family, classrooms and community gatherings.
Yes, all kids can be: Inspirational, A Blessing, Extra Special and so forth but it seems to be applied a lot more often and verbally, for public scrutiny, when the child has a special need. An obvious difference that draws attention.
I’m not sure where I am going but I have thought about this concept a lot lately.
I think the thoughts are generated by the pondering of a distant neighbor’s, teen, son’s death. The child died unexpectedly in November. Every mention of him is coupled with how good the child was, what a blessing he was to those that know him, how inspirational his life was. I mentioned to Mel that this child was also just a child. A good kid, yes, but a typical child who did regular kid things like; get into mischief and make mistakes. Her reaction was one of being stunned and taken aback. I question if the neighborhood needs to spend a little more time talking about how this kid was good but also typical.
When a child hears they are inspirational, a blessing, extra special, does it not set them up to be different. Set them up to think less of themselves when they are no longer on the “special” list. Special needs parents strive so hard to help their kids attain “typical”. Extra school, therapy, special lessons, extra homework. Do we really need to change them, or just support them? What is typical? What does inspirational actually mean? I am one to contemplate such things. 🙂
I do not want Mel to be special; I want her to be typical. I know typical cannot really ever be attained but in my heart, I never, never asked for special or inspirational. She did not ask to inspire or motivate or even be a blessing. Is that a burden I gave her as a young child? Is it a liability or an advantage?
Mel sees herself as a kid or teen or ?. At 17, I do not think she sees herself as inspirational or extra special. I like who she is, just the way she is. And so does she. For that I am thankful. I do still have the “what if days”, but she does not. That’s a mom’s burden.
The world around her has learned and molded itself in some ways to be more accepting of differences and that is great. The world is changing; the world, as I know it, is more accepting of individual differences. History lessons will tell you that.
The world needs inspiration and parents of special needs kids need to see others with similar differences attain. It makes sense that our kids inspire and motive.
I want Mel to also know she is distinct, unconventional and exceptional for whom she is not because she happens to use a wheelchair to get to and from. We all have variations of different. That is what make the world such a great place to live.
Was the neighbor’s child extraordinary, No. Just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Is Mel extraordinary, No. Just a kid who happens to use a wheelchair due to an inopportune genetic mistake.
Hoping my rambling, often long-winded and wordy blog helps someone, somewhere answer the questions I ask myself. Thanks for letting me put my thoughts of today into words.