To the parents of typical children,
You hold my daughter’s future in the palm of your hand. I am writing this letter with the express hope that you will take my words deeply to heart and act upon them accordingly. I beseech you, as the creators of the world, to look kindly upon those you deem different. As parents we often times forget that our attitudes, emotions, actions, and words shape the kind of people our children will grow up to be; and these children, as owners of the future, will decide how those who are differently-abled will be treated when it comes.
But we have daily access to the future, for it is in our midst. As parent’s we are our children’s greatest teachers. We have the opportunity to help mold our children into loving, caring, accepting adults, all we need do is reach out and take it. All we must do is live with the creed “All men are created equal” emblazoned on our hearts and in our actions.
If you are seeking a more definitive answer as to how this can be achieved my reply would be to ask that when you are in ear shot of your children please refrain from using those words that have been hijacked by society and had their once benign definitions changed to mean hurtful and often times condescending things. Using these words in everyday speech, even when not used to describe a person, is extremely demeaning and it shows our children that those whom these words were originally meant to describe do not matter enough to be respected. The English language is home to so many descriptive words your sentences need not be bogged down with those that are debasing. And, what’s more, little ears need not hear them.
I would ask that you show kindness and compassion to those people you meet in the street who appear “different.” Your judgmental stares and condescending remarks do not help those on the receiving end of your jeers. Nor, do they show compassion, understanding, or equality to your children. Those actions will be the base off of which your child will build their future treatment and opinions of others. The people of the future will be much better served by more understanding today.
I would ask that you not shy away from hard questions your children will ask about those who are different. Children are naturally inquisitive. Questions will be asked. And answers need be given. Educate yourselves about those who are different. If you do not know the proper answer, seek it out. And always drive home the truth, that difference does not mean less.
Every day of your existence you have the ability to positively shape my daughter’s future by always showing kindness to those around you; and by teaching your children to do the same. The way my daughter is perceived by the children of today will have a direct effect on her life tomorrow.
P.S. I do not claim perfection as a parent. Nor, do I presume to know infinitely what methods are best to help guide our children into caring adults, but I do know that love always has the ability to win, if we just let it.