Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The R-word

Some words are so bad that you teach your children to never, ever say them.  And then we give them names.  The F word.  The B word.  In a family like ours, and hopefully yours too, we also have the R word.


We've actively taught Camille to be an advocate, not just for Cade, but for all kids with a disability or difference.  And the lesson sunk in more than we realized.

Earlier this year, Camille came home from school pretty upset.  Not crying, but angry and bothered.  She described how a boy on the bus kept singing "retarded, retarded, retarded" over and over.  A couple more boys joined in.  It wasn't directed at any person, they were just being silly elementary boys.  Camille asked them to please stop.  She told them that the word is offensive and she didn't want to hear it on the bus.  One of the boys asked her why it mattered.  She explained that her little brother has Down syndrome.  The boy retorted "Then that means your brother is retarded."

The boy has never met Cade so we couldn't truly be offended.  But I did ask her teacher for tips on handling it in the future.  Turns out the boy is in Camille's class so the teacher spoke to him.  He apologized and that was the end of it.  He hasn't ever said it again, nor made any comments about Cade, since then.

My take-away message?  My daughter is amazing.  Even as an adult, I tend to ignore stuff like that and while I stew about it, or wish later that I'd spoken up, I rarely do when it happens again.  But our kids...our kids are fearless advocates.  It 's effortless for them.  We teach our kids today how to treat others, how to be kind and gentle and loving, and the message will sink in.  They get it.  Teach them to stand up for other kids and they will.

It starts with us.  It starts today.  Teach your kids...let's end the r-word.

In God, whose word I praise--in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?   Psalm 56:4 

 (This came up in my Bible app today and seemed entirely appropriate!)


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