Helping Our Children Help Themselves

December 12, 2011

We live in a complicated time. It’s difficult to know what is right and what is wrong. It is challenging to understand how to help others and to what extent that help should go. I don’t believe anyone should have life handed to them. I do believe in showing compassion to those in need, but I also believe that it is solely one’s own responsibility to help themselves. I believe that we should all suffer to some extent and that we should allow our suffering to mold us into stronger, wiser and better people so that we can lead those who will follow in our footsteps. I don’t believe in lecturing, but in teaching by example of one’s own actions. I don’t believe in making life as easy as possible for our children or trying to fix every single medical condition they may develop. True, children don’t need the flue, but is it so wrong to allow a child to grow up deaf? Maybe only when their ears are no longer manipulated by earthly whispers, their hearts can truly hear God. In the end, do we want our children to be beautiful because life did not bend them, or do we want our children to become beautiful because life bent them, but could not break them?

I don’t believe in the special education programs children with special needs are put into. What a child with a handicap needs is to be reinforced with the concept that they are just as capable as their peers and that through adamance and perseverance, they can compete with the most intelligent and most able. What special education programs do is exactly the opposite; they let children grow up into their teens believing that they are stupid and not able. The teachers, the superintendents, the district managers, they all stand by while dreams are crushed and hope is lost. What a child with a handicap needs is a group of teachers who believe in him enough to put him in regular classes and encourage him to work harder than he ever thought he could, not warehouse him in a room where students are graded on coloring inside the lines. Because inside that broken shell of a body drifts a soul that needs you to believe in it more than it believes in itself.

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One Response to “Helping Our Children Help Themselves”

  1. Matthew Millard said

    I couldn’t agree more. I have twin boys, one with cerebral palsy and one unaffected. It’s very important to me that he be accepted for who he is as he is. When I take him to the play ground, it’s obvious that he’s different. I take that as an opportunity to tell any one who asks, anyone who stops and stares, about who he is and what happened to him and that it doesnt change anything fundamental about what kind of a person he is.
    One of my biggest fears is about the pushback I might experience when he goes to school. I want him to be in the same school as his brother. I want him to have the same school experience as his peers. perhaps more importantly, I want his peers to have the experience of being in school with him. We need to stop marginalizing people with special needs. And I will lie, cheat, steal and litigate to make that happen.

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