And it struck me in many ways.
I read it Sunday afternoon after I took the little man to get his hair cut at his favorite place – the Great Clips on Robinhood. The ladies there know him. He’s comfortable there. Lots of mirrors and when you are cute, why not look at something cute like yourself?
Actually, looking at himself and watching him look at himself is really a neat exercise. Simply seeing him experiment with facial expressions and respond to them is self-actualization. That, and he can keep an eye on me.
That’s after we go to the grocery store. The one he’s so familiar with. Knows the people. They know him. Drinks coffee. Says hello to the ladies in Aisle 3.
Then to that playground at the local Moravian church. And in the parking lot while finishing a song (because Malcolm is flat out rocking it!), I read the attached posting from a father of a child with Down Syndrome who wrote in reaction to hearing a radio listener calling in a radio talk show saying,
“That retarded kid that was kidnapped, probably didn’t even understand what was going on…”
I will be honest with you. I hear many words in the halls of a high school come from the mouths of teenagers. I have been called many things by teenagers (and parents) simply because if you teach long enough, you will encounter that.
But it’s not the word “RETARD” that upset me the most – that viscerally moved me in reading this.
I remember the episode in the movie theater where that young man was killed.
That episode in Chicago last week flashed on my news feed and I sunk.
How defenseless is my child with special needs?
I don’t know.
And it scares me.
If I tried to list every precaution that has ever been made to ensure his safety while trying to allow him to grow in a world that I want him to fit in then I would need many blogs.
But I will make sure that he knows the world that I am in.
I invite you to take a look a the posting. I am not asking for a response, but a sincere read.