Sunday, September 6, 2009

Differences

Joey went to our local Target a few weeks ago with his dad and came home and reported to me about this woman who works there who is "only about as tall as a shopping cart," he said. I'm very familiar with her (not personally, but I see her there all the time), and I told Joey, "Yes, she is a 'little person.' That's what it's called. She works there, I see her there a lot." No big deal. So today, I took both Kevin and Joey to the same Target with me, and Joey spotted that woman and really loud, said, "Mom! There's that woman!" Uh, just kill me now. I shushed him and gave him a look, and being as sensitive as he is, he kind of hung his head and I know he felt bad.

So when we were done and got back out to the truck, I told him very seriously, "I want you to know that you're not in trouble, but it's never nice to point and stare and make a big deal about someone who's different. There are all kinds of people in the world. There are short people and tall people and black people and white people and people in wheelchairs and people with disabilities. And we're all part of the world. And some day, some people might look at your brother, Finn, and stare and point and make fun, and that would make him and us feel really bad, wouldn't it? I just want you to understand that." And I think he does.

I don't know. It's not that I expect my kids to grow up not noticing differences, but I hope that they'll embrace differences and not judge or be afraid of differences.

And . . . I kind of hate it that Finn is suddenly this learning tool for my other kids. But, I guess it's all part of life. Or, our life at least.

5 comments:

Molly said...

You could also tell him to go say hi. I'm sure she's gotten a lot of looks, and whispers in her time, but I don't think many people would follow that up with a simple "hello, how are ya?"

Then again, I'm overly social. lol.

Khourt said...

Its bound to happen at one time or another.. I think you responded well to him after the fact. Its funny though the things your kids will notice though after having been around somebody with disabilities. For instance Kaia doesnt notice or point out people with medical equipment or wheelchairs or people who walk funny.. He notices people that are bald or people with baggy clothes..

Larry said...

Ah this EXACT thing happened in the same Target last weekend with me and my kids...and I did the exact same thing by telling them not to point/stare/say things that may be hurtful, there are many different types of people in the world, etc. - I think it is all you can do - kids young in age don't mean to be "mean" they are just being observant/curious but clearly we are mortified they may be hurting feelings or being rude...another hard part of parenting...

Monica Crumley said...

Just another one of those life lessons we have to teach our children sooner or later. Maybe it's good he's learning it sooner so he'll be an advocate for Finn if that day ever comes that someone stares or points at him.

Keri said...

You aren't using Finn as a lesson- you're putting the lesson you want Joey to learn in terms he will understand.