Being an author, artist, athlete, or any other professional in which one is forced to compete is not an easy thing. As an author, I continue to have to deal with rejection and disappointment. And sometimes, as a part of business, I must reject and disappoint others.
Writing books and finding an illustrator for my children’s book about my life with Cerebral Palsy has turned out to be much more difficult than I thought. I hope to be able to contractually secure an illustrator for my children’s book this summer and still have it published in the fall, but nothing is guaranteed. I may be disappointed again and/or have to disappoint someone else if the samples of illustrations don’t fit my vision of my children’s book.
Since this is a children’s book about me, it’s an absolute requirement that the cartoon character depicting me both as a child and adult is accurate. I want young children to see what severe cerebral palsy looks like while showing them how much one can accomplish despite the disability. I also want other children with cerebral palsy to be able to relate to the book.
All of this got me thinking about disappointment, competition, and community. I am 36 years old and I still don’t handle disappointment as well as I would like, yet we expect young children to deal with it better than we do. When they have a meltdown due to disappointment, we punish them instead of helping them learn to cope with disappointment.
And, at times, we even set the children up for disappointment by expecting them to do things that they are not ready to do like compete at a young age or go to a candy store without getting any candy when we know they can’t control their impulses.
Children are put in sports or other competitions and are expected to compete. Even going to school has become a competition to see who can get the best grades and who can be the most popular.
While there’s a movement to give everyone trophies in competitions, I’m not sure if that’s the answer either. I absolutely hate the way many conservatives talk about this; that giving everyone a trophy is turning them into “snowflakes (too sensitive).” Yet, this culture and life requires hard work and earning things through hard work and talent.
Plus, children should be able to enjoy the journey towards their goals and accomplishments. It is often the journey—whether or not it results in success or failure—that teaches us all important lessons. We should not take this away from children by making everyone a “winner” or trying to shield them from all rejection and disappointment.
I believe that learning to work hard and how to cope with disappointment is very important for children. I also think for young children, there’s nothing wrong with getting a certificate of participation for participating in an event. Teaching children that while everyone may not be able to be the best and win, it’s still important to be inclusive.
Then there’s community. Community is very important to teach children. Having a communal attitude can go along way in helping this society to be more united. Children must be taught that, in basic human terms, everyone is equal no matter what! Celebrating individual talents is fine but that doesn’t mean anyone’s “better” than the other when it comes to simply being a human being.
In many other countries, the culture is alll about community and putting others first. Children learn this from a young age and have been known to run together to reach a prize and then share it. The children don’t believe that one can be happy if the whole group isn’t happy. This is another great argument that children are not born sinful! They act how they live. We are their teachers.
I recently attended an event with my husband and friend which was very community oriented. Everyone was happy, loving, and peaceful. It was very refreshing that there was no judgment or anything negative. We did play a game but it was all in fun and we were happy for the people who won.
I guess there’s a time for disappointment, competition, and community. However, we must teach children how to cope with disappointment and not push competition on them. Playing should be fun while teaching children about teamwork which is community. Disappointment is a part of life. We must teach them how to deal with their big feelings in a kind, compassionate way.
I must also point out that the Church is failing in community because the Church tends to pick and choose who they allow to be a part of the Church. The Church has been known to reject, be oppressive, and even abuse weaker groups of people of all ages. Yet, Jesus calls us to love, help, and include everyone in the community.
But most of all, may we teach children community and inclusion. That looking out for everyone is what truly matters. Working hard together and understanding that everyone has different talents is more important than anything else.
Good news! My friend has a friend with a 14-year-old artist and the girl agreed to do the illustrations for my children’s book. We have to figure out all the details, but her work is amazing so it looks like my children’s book will hopefully be out in the fall on Amazon. No unethical publishers anymore.
I still have to work on the 2nd edition of Gentle Firmness and get it back out on Amazon, but the children’s book is ready except for the illustrations so I’m excited.
The book is about life with severe cerebral palsy and I hope many children will love it. Stay tuned and let me know if you want one of the LAST signed copies of Gentle Firmness. $10 with free shipping—USA ONLY.
Please join me in welcoming Ashley Taylor from disabledparents.org. She is a parent with a disability and so when she asked me if she could guest post on my blog, I was delighted. I have severe cerebral palsy but I don’t have children and sometimes that’s held against me. So here’s a parent with a disability that is treating her children respectfully. I hope you will enjoy her posts.
Childproofing a home before a baby arrives is a challenging chore for any expectant parent. And it can be especially daunting for parents to be who are dealing with disabilities. But getting an early start and tackling tasks systematically can help make your home safer for you and its new occupant. Here is some information and advice to get you going.
Background on Parents With Disabilities
Research shows there were 4.1 million parents with disabilities in the United States in 2014, or around 6.2 percent of parents with children under 18. And, though attitudes are starting to shift in some states, the majority have dependency statutes that allow courts to reach the determination a parent is unfit based on the parent’s disability. So, while it is important for every expectant parent to establish a safe environment in their homes, it could be even more critical for those whose skills might be scrutinized by well meaning family, friends, and officials.
Fortunately, some agencies provide services specifically designed to assist prospective and expectant parents with disabilities plan for life after labor or adoption. Services could include home visits to evaluate areas for safety purposes, lending out adaptive child care equipment for people to try before they buy, and performing follow-up visits as the baby ages. Advocacy agencies such as Through the Looking Glass are a good place to start when seeking resources and training programs.
What to Do Before the Baby Arrives
There are some things you should mark off the child proof checklist prior to a baby’s grand arrival in its new home. Here are some suggestions from sources including Redfin.
Install carbon monoxide detectors if you have an attached garage or use oil or gas to heat your home. Check batteries twice a year.
Install and maintain functional smoke detectors. Check them monthly and change batteries at least once a year if your detectors require them.
Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and have a fire escape plan in place.
Keep nightlights away from fabrics, including bedding and curtains, and opt for night lights that don’t heat up when used.
Put together a first-aid kit for babies and take an infant CPR class.
Install childproof locks on cabinets containing poisons, medicines, and cleaning supplies.
If your home has lead paint that’s peeling or flaking, hire a certified Lead-Safe professional seal or remove it.
Make sure your water heater is set no higher than 120℉ to minimize the risk of accidental burns.
Install plates that slide closed over electrical outlets.
Furniture, Rugs, and More
Cover sharp furniture edges with bumpers or padding.
Stony or sharp fireplace hearths should also be covered and expectant parents should also install heat-resistant gates for when the fireplace is in use.
Put non-slip pads under area rugs that don’t already have non-slip backs.
Anchor heavy furniture that could tip over, such as dressers and refrigerators, to the wall or floor.
Consider investing in baby gates to block off areas that you plan to keep off limits for your little one, but avoid accordion-style gates that they might get stuck in. For rooms with doors, try knob covers that make it doors difficult to open for little hands. Test some options early to make sure they also meet your accessibility needs.
Install window stops or guards.
Clip looped window blind cords and install safety tassels. Fit blinds’ inner cords with inner cord stops.
Review safety suggestions and product recalls before buying furniture for the baby’s room.
There will be other childproofing considerations once your baby starts crawling and walking, but this list gives soon-to-be parents a strong start toward creating a home that will help keep all its inhabitants happy and healthy for years to come.
Some people had a hard time with this, so let me see if I can explain. I know not everyone will agree with me because we still live in an age where “respect your elders” is shoved down our throats from birth and if children dare assert themselves in a way that is deemed “disrespectful” to their elders, they are punished.
If you spend time reading my blog and book and other social media outlets, you know that I am a huge advocate for respecting everyone from conception to death. I don’t see age as a requirement for automatic respect. Everyone deserves basic respect, kindness, and courtesy.
The problem is that some people abuse their position as an authority figure or as an older adult to demand respect. As I pointed out in my blog post to which I linked at the beginning of this post, this often occurs in the parent-child relationship. The parent demands respect from the child, but doesn’t treat the child with the same respect.
A child who is not raised with respect will not respect the parent. He/she fears the parent and then becomes rebellious and/or resentful. How can we expect children to respect us when we treat them as second-class citizens?
Childism is alive and well in our society. Here’s the definition of childism:
“Childism is defined as ‘a prejudice against children on the ground of a belief that they are property and can (or even should) be controlled, enslaved, or removed to serve adult needs'” (Gold, 2012, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/child-in-mind/201201/understanding-childism-are-we-prejudiced-against-children).
This comes in the form of abortion, cry-it-out, demanding things from children that they are incapable of doing, yelling at them, saying harsh things to them, shaming them, spanking/hitting, grounding them, not listening to them, not taking them seriously, and just acting as if they are far below us.
The worst thing is that children have no voice! Every other minority group has formed groups to give them a voice and change the way they are perceived and treated, albeit we have a long way to go in how minorities are perceived and treated in this world, but at least they have a voice.
Since children don’t have a voice, it’s up to people who see them as the beautiful human beings that they are to speak up for them. As someone who wasn’t always treated with respect by my elders, I am even more passionate about this. And due to my severe cerebral palsy, I still often get patronized and disrespected by adults of every age.
And, as I pointed out in my original post about this, sometimes disrespect continues in family relationships as the stronger one tries to bully, shame, and manipulate the “weaker” one. When this happens, the most respectful thing to do is to set boundaries and/or walk away. I have had to do this many times throughout my adulthood.
Unfortunately, children cannot “just walk away” or set boundaries. Children are stuck in that relationship until they are adults. This is not fair.
Children are born social beings who love unconditionally! They are just learning about everything and we are their teachers. We teach respect by being respectful to them. This does not mean we don’t set limits and boundaries or don’t discipline them. It means we discipline them without punishing them and without being harsh.
Yes, everyone deserves respect. The elderly deserve respect. But just because we are a certain age doesn’t give us the right to demand and force respect. Respect is earned by being respectful and apologizing when we mess up.
This world is becoming less and less respectful. It’s not because we’re not “disciplining aka punishing” children, it’s because we are treating them with less respect.
Respectful children have been raised with true respect, and thus, offer true respect to their elders.
Note: Daniel is a wonderful Christian gentle parent. This post really touched me as I have severe cerebral palsy and I always really appreciate when parents let people know that having children with disabilities is tough, but also very rewarding!
Going to tackle a tough question that comes up from time to time.
Has having children with autism ruined my life? Is this the worst thing that could ever happen?
The answer is an emphatic no!
Aizen’s needs in particular have posed some tremendous challenges to us to understand and learn — and honestly there would have been a time I may have answered yes to this question. Age five, before we were getting support and help, was a particularly rough time because he was biting and aggressive and we didn’t know what to do. He also wasn’t talking which made things extra challenging.
But did it ruin my life? No — I have had to grow significantly and I had a lot to learn. I have gained skills, understanding, empathy, and knowledge I would never have gained otherwise. Aizen has shown me the world in a way I would never have observed it without him. He has changed the way I perceive behaviours in other people and taught me patience and empathy in stressful situations.
Has this ruined my life? I’d say the opposite — what I have gained would be enhancements. I am also a bereaved parent and I stress that Aizen is alive, gaining skills, observing and experiencing the world — he’s not broken, damaged, a burden or a problem. The worst thing that can happen — and I know from experience — is your child passing away and having plan their funeral.
He’s a good polite kid who has worked extremely hard for every skill he has acquired — he’s someone who should be celebrated.
For Valentine’s Day I surprised my husband with a beautiful tattoo that symbolizes our love and our Christ centered marriage. I got this tattoo on my lower left arm. This was my first arm tattoo, so I was a bit nervous about how it would go with my spasms due to my severe cerebral palsy.
If you have been following me for a while, you know that this is my fourth tattoo. My mom was here again but after she helped us figure out how to strap my arm down tightly, she was able to enjoy watching her daughter get another detailed tattoo.
I feel like I need to write about my tattoo experiences because I know I went searching for other people with severe cerebral palsy who had successfully gotten tattooed when I first made up my mind that I was going to do it. I needed to know that others like me were able to do this. So I am putting my experiences out there for anyone else that is like me and wants tattoos.
Plus, there’s always an element of getting a tattoo that relates to parenting and respecting children which is something I am obviously very passionate about.
To read about my first three tattoo experiences and how they relate to parenting, click here, here, and here.
For this tattoo, I took the same medications as always for my spasms and we strapped my arm down to my arm rest of my wheelchair in two different places. Then my husband held my hand down quite tightly. My tattoo artist is a miracle worker and did an excellent job! While there was slightly more movement with my arm than my legs, within twenty minutes my body stopped reacting so much to the needles and I was fine.
Since I had to be strapped down and held down again for the tattoo, it got me thinking about respecting children’s bodies and teaching children consent from birth. We’ve all seen it and maybe even have done it. You see a cute baby and just have to touch him/her. But what if the baby really doesn’t want to be touched? This is especially true if you’re a stranger.
Let’s face it. We don’t respect children’s bodies.
Even before they are born, many people think its okay to dismember the baby’s body if the mother doesn’t want the child.
Then after birth, infants are touched, poked, tickled, squeezed, scooped up, gently pinched against their wills.
Then there’s the issue of corporal punishment. Sadly, many pro-spanking advocates tell parents to even sit on the child to spank/hit him/her. Even when children submit to spankings, they are being forced to do so out of fear, guilt, not wanting multiple spankings, and needing acceptance from their parents again. But they really don’t have a choice as they learn that their parents will make them submit.
Even older children are touched by complete, albeit well-meaning, strangers against their wishes.
Here’s a recent story from my dear friend, Meagan Longest, about an experience with her daughter at a store:
“An old man patted Wynnie at the grocery store today. She was holding onto the side of the cart. She looks up at him, almost cries and then runs to me at the back of the cart.
Wynnie: He touch me mom. Whyyyyy?
Me: I know, honey. That’s not okay.
Wynnie: That’s MY body, mommy.
Me: You’re right. It’s your body and no one should touch it without YOUR permission (While giving an evil eye to the old man and his daughter who was starting to get pissed).
I almost lost it.
Moral of the story- start teaching consent at birth. And don’t effing touch a child without their permission.”
Sure, that old man probably didn’t mean any harm, but in today’s world, we just never know. And how would you feel if a stranger patted you out of nowhere?
I guess I understand this more than some people do because well-meaning people get in my personal space and touch me without my consent. Due to my very slurred speech, I can’t just say, “Please don’t hug me.” “Please move out of my face a bit.” It’s very uncomfortable and I just sit there and deal with it so I don’t hurt people’s feelings.
The reality is that we all have the right not to have our personal spaces invaded by anyone without giving our consent. We need to respect each other’s bodies!
You may be asking, “What about needing to restrain children for care and/or medical procedures?” When a child is given shots, I strongly believe that they should be held in their parents’ laps. There’s never a reason to hold a child down on a table for shots. If your pediatrician doesn’t encourage you to hold your children on your lap for shots and even other simple procedures, then please find another doctor.
As far as giving care, if you must hold them against their wills, always talk to them about what you’re doing and why. Validate their feelings. Say, for example, “Oh I know you don’t like me holding you right now but we have to get your diaper changed. Can you help me by lifting your bottom?”
It helps to try and make sure the child is ready for the transition into care. It also helps to be playful about it when you know your child may resist. The key is teaching children that you respect them and always try to wait for their consent before moving forward. Even for newborns, this can be done by telling them before you pick them up and waiting for some clue that they are ready to be picked up. Moving slowly with infants also helps to teach them consent and that we respect them. Please see this post for more information about respecting infants.
As children grow, it’s so important to teach children that no one should ever touch them without their ok. Even people they know should always ask before touching them. It’s just basic respect. We invite people in and out by our body language most of the time, but children are not skilled at this and many adults ignore them anyway, so allowing children to say, “No!” is very, very important!
Also, teaching children to respect others is equally important. Teaching them to not touch someone that doesn’t want to be touched helps them to respect others.
The majority of sexual abuse and assault cases happen with people that children know! This is extremely scary! If children are taught to obey their elders no matter what, it’s really setting them up for potential sexual abuse and assault. We can’t allow this!
If people don’t understand why you are allowing your children to give or not give consent, just explain that you want them to have control over their own bodies. Tell them that you don’t just let people touch you, so why should children have to allow people to touch them when they don’t want anyone to touch them?
Children are human beings and deserve respect. I consented to being strapped down for tattoos, children should have the power to consent to being touched. It’s about respecting each other’s bodies and personal space no matter what the age is.
On January 27th I got my third tattoo which is of my beloved first kitty, Sara. It was the ten year anniversary of her going Home. I got Sara when I was about nine years old and lost her when I was 25 years old. This was the original tattoo that I had been wanting since soon after she went Home.
I made it through the tattoo with flying colors and took the same medications as I did with my last two tattoos in order to slow down my muscle spasms. See here and here about my first tattoo experiences. Again, my mom was so excited and proud of me. It’s funny how even though I am 35 years old, I still need my mom’s approval and acceptance! It truly means a lot to me!
I have been thinking a great deal about love and acceptance with everything going on in both my world and the world in general. My husband and I no longer attend church because we’ve never found one that the people totally accepted us. Some people have and we are still friends with them, but many people assume that I am mentally disabled and talk to me like I am a child, well actually, worse. They are often patronizing to me. It drives me crazy! Of course, as I said, there are some who can see past my disability, but many can’t even after telling them that I have a Master’s Degree.
So when my friend, Jackie Heim, posted the following on her Facebook page, I felt sad but could really relate.
“I read that between 80-90% of parents with special needs kids do not attend church. There is no source for my information, so I can’t verify this. But, I believe the number is high (for sure higher than it should be). I’ll take my son anywhere – the library, the mall, the beach, swimming, a museum, a park, the grocery store, Disney World – anywhere but church. I can handle the comments and looks from strangers. Not being able to talk and not understanding everything said to you is a frustrating disability. From Christians, the one group of people who I want support from as as special needs parent, I get judgmental comments. Burdens of expectation concerning my son’s behavior are thrown on my shoulders. And, always by people who are doing nothing to help me with this burden. I have experienced this ever since dealing with my first language delayed child over a decade ago. It hasn’t gone away. And, the third time around I am dealing with an even more severe delay. So, I just don’t go. It’s easier that way.”
The very people, the Church, who are supposed to love and accept you for who you are, don’t! They want children to be these perfectly obedient robots and if they’re not then you need to spank/hit them. They never stop to think that the children may have special needs or they never try to understand about child development. To be so judgmental to parents and children is so wrong and un-Christlike.
I see the world becoming worse and worse which the Bible tells us to expect. But what I have been struggling with for years is that I didn’t realize that it would be the Christians that are often leading the way to destruction. We’re supposed to be leading people to the Light. I just don’t see that happening.
I believe that this is due to church doctrine. Church doctrine often appears to be aligned with the Bible, but when you look deeper, you see how much it strays from the Bible. Jesus was constantly with sinners and making them feel loved and welcome. In fact, people would run to Jesus when He was in their town!
“When they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. When they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, and ran about that whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was. Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured” (Mark 6:53-56, NASB).
It was always the self-righteous Pharisees and the teachers of the Law that scoffed, badgered, and ultimately crucified Jesus. Regular people just wanted to know more about Him and to understand Him.
Not long ago I posted on my Facebook personal page that I have recently found myself relating more to the tattoo culture than to the Christian culture. As strange as that may sound, it’s because the tattoo culture is so real, loving, and accepting! They are so Christlike and they don’t even know it. That is so scary and sad that a tattoo shop does what the Church ought to be doing.
We are born with a deep need for love and acceptance. Children absolutely crave it from their parents and never outgrow it. Jesus put us here to love and accept people in order to lead them to Him. There are a lot of people out there right now, young and old, of different races and ethnicities, and of different religions, and of all sexual orientations that are craving for love and acceptance! May we do our best to stop judging and begin loving and accepting the way Jesus does!
A week ago I got another tattoo for my mother-in-law. Again, due to how I have been treated throughout my life because people always underestimate me and have even put me down, I felt the need to prove that I could handle a much more detailed tattoo. See here to read about my first tattoo.
Thankfully, some of my family, including my mom and my husband, have always been supportive of me. My mom wanted to be here to help with my second tattoo, but she lives in Kansas. I missed having her there as she is a tattoo person too.
I am beyond happy! I did even better than last time. My tattoo artist began easy by retouching my Mickey. Then she gave me 3 fonts to choose from for the “big hug” that I added to my grandpa tattoo, and I immediately picked the middle font. We decided to put it at the top of the grandpa tattoo! That went so well! We were a bit worried about doing font with me due to my startle reflex that I have no control over. The significance of adding “big hug” is that from the time of AOL instant messenger, my grandpa and I chatted every week if at all possible since it’s very hard to understand me over the phone as my speech is very slurred because of my severe cerebral palsy. So at the end of EVERY chat, we’d say, “Big hug! I got mine! Here’s one back.” It satisfied us until we got to see each other again and get the real hug! Oh my, I’m crying again. Now “big hug” is forever on me and I will NEVER forget that very special thing between us until I see him again and finally get many big hugs for eternity! I love you, Grandpa! So now my grandpa tattoo is complete!
Then it was onto my tattoo for my beloved mother-in-law. The cardinal is my sign from her in Heaven. She was like my second mom and accepted me into her family! We were very, very close. Her birthday is on Halloween so my husband came up with the jack-o-lantern idea. Then my artist added the harvest moon and hazy clouds. I was nervous about the details, but it went better than I could have ever imagined!!
Eventually my startle reflex quit. I took the same medications as last time to slow down my spasms. My husband strapped me all up in my wheelchair, including my arms since we didn’t have my mom there to help as we did last time. My husband sat on the floor and held my leg. I can’t believe how well it all went.
To me, the shading hurts less than the outline. And my artist and my husband talked the whole time and I talked some, but I didn’t want to move too much. She said that I really did a great job! I only took one break to get a drink of orange juice. Everyone loved it at the shop! I am so proud of myself for doing so well with the pain, but I ended up getting used to it. And the conversation was so cool and interesting that it kept me distracted.
I’m always second guessing myself in everything that I do. The voices that told me throughout my life that I would never amount to much are always somewhere in my head despite my, thankfully, strong will. This is why I hate that many Christians believe that they must break their children’s wills. They are really doing a great deal of harm to their children because it often takes a strong will to do what is right in God’s eyes and not what others think is “good.”
I again hugged me tattoo artist afterwards! My tattoos are the most beautiful things ever! It was sore like a sunburn but it was worth everything! It all took 2 hours! I was tired but so excited! Another huge accomplishment for me! Thank You, Jesus! It felt so good walking out into the cool air when we left the tattoo shop because I was hot from all that!
I sat here at home for a while with my sweatpants down and just looked at it!! I cried! There is so much symbolism behind these tattoos. Symbols of love and acceptance by family members. Symbols of remembrance and the hope of being reunited with them some day thanks to Jesus’s amazing gift of grace and forgiveness! Symbols of being able to overcome, with God’s help, the negative messages that were put into my head from the time that I was a small child.
My next tattoo is January 27th to get my first kitty, Sara. I’m doing it on the 10 year anniversary of her going Home! I’ve wanted tattoos for so long and never thought it would work with me but I proved that wrong!! I feel like I can now get through this horrible grief because I got through the tattoos with flying colors!! Thank You, Jesus!
Children need to be taught how to believe in themselves and to trust God. Only through gentle discipline is achieved. I will probably always struggle with believing in myself and totally trusting God no matter how much I continue to overcome. I wish all children could have what I didn’t growing up.
***Special note: I wrote this over a week ago but because I take this matter so seriously, I had some peers read over it. I have edited this post a few times and have rewritten things. I hope my love and my own story touches all who read this.***
I am in tears as I write this. I didn’t sleep very well last night due to someone I thought I knew and I thought he/she knew me calling me a “racist” for not jumping onboard with the Black Lives Matter movement. I am also losing friends for this reason.
In my original post regarding the recent two police brutality cases and cop killings, I said that “all lives matter.” You can find the link for the post and my follow-up post a little later in this post. When I shared my “All Lives Matter” post on Facebook A.K.A. “Hatebook,” I came across a meme claiming that the phrase “all lives matter” was created by white supremacist groups in opposition to Black Lives Matter. I should have known better and researched it before writing my follow-up post where I apologized but explained that I truly mean it when I say all lives matter. But my emotions took over and I didn’t investigate it.
After calming down, my husband looked it up and discovered that “All Lives Matter” was NOT created by white supremacist groups! He made the observation that wouldn’t white supremacists say, “White Lives Matter?” After all, they hate everyone who isn’t a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant — “WASP.” Yes, we know them best for going after black people, but they hate everyone else too. Sure enough, there is nothing to show that “all lives matter” is from a white supremacist group. In fact, black people say it too.
“In the discussion surrounding “Black Lives Matter”, the slogan “All Lives Matter” is sometimes used as an alternative. Its supporters include Senator Tim Scott. According to an August 2015 poll, 78% of likely American voters said the statement All Lives Matters was “close[r] to [their] own” than Black Lives Matter. Only 11% said the statement Black Lives Matter was closer. Nine percent said neither statement reflected their point of view” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lives_Matter#.22All_Lives_Matter.22).
What’s even more interesting is that U.S. Senator Tim Scott is a black man! As my husband and I further investigated this in order to be absolutely certain that the phrase has nothing to do with any white supremacist groups, we found the following article from the Washington Post about a student that left a note on a professor’s door in the College of Law that read “All Lives Matter” which states the following:
“Then two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights — speaking as individuals, not for the commission — wrote to the dean.
“The response of American University faculty and staff was nothing short of Orwellian,” Gail Heriot and Peter Kirsanow wrote, in part. They also wrote:
“Nearly sixty members of the law faculty and staff signed a letter calling this an ‘act of intolerance,’ because it refers to ‘all lives’ rather than only ‘black lives.’
This makes American University look foolish.
Even sillier, the letter calls this obviously true statement — that the lives of all members of the human species are valuable — ‘a rallying cry for many who espouse ideas of white supremacy.’
While we know that President Obama has stated that ‘all lives matter,’ we are not personally aware of any cases in which white supremacists (a rare species these days) have made that statement.
‘Equating a student making a legitimate and utterly unobjectionable point with a white supremacist is nonsensical.’
(Obama, in explaining why he does not think the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ is offensive and that he does not think the protesters are suggesting other people’s lives don’t matter, said in October, ‘I think everybody understands all lives matter’).
By phone, Heriot, a professor of law at the University of San Diego, said that when she saw the letter from the professors, ‘My reaction was that this was — quite outrageous. I just wish that people in positions of authority, like members of a law-school faculty, would try not to make things worse by engaging in name-calling of this kind.'”
If you Google “all lives matter,” the only thing you’ll see is people arguing about it and criticizing people who use the phrase. SAD!! An inclusive phrase being ripped apart. Anyway, note to self: always research stuff before taking it as “fact” when you see it on Facebook.
I want to make it very clear that I support all black people. All my life I have been aware of how unfair the world can be by judging people by appearances in the way some whites will look at a person’s skin color and falsely and automatically assume bad things about them. ButI just can’t support the group Black Lives Matter. I don’t believe that they’re representatives of the race, and sadly, they are hurting race relations through their behavior. Many black people do want peace and love. They even peacefully protest. However, Black Lives Matter seems to draw unstable radicals who cause a great deal of death and mayhem. I also feel that Black Lives Matter dismisses other minority groups that have been oppressed and horribly treated throughout history and into the present. What about the Jews and the Holocaust? Recently anti-semitism has come back. What about the Native Americans who were murdered and now live on reservations?
To understand where I stand with the recent police brutality cases and the cop killings, see here and here.
The reason why I am so upset that I was called a “racist” is because I clearly condemned all violence and all racism and bigotry in my posts! Also, this person said that I have “white privilege.” To be honest, I don’t feel like I have much “privilege” at all because my family and I have had to fight for everything I need and I am still fighting. My life, while blessed in comparison to many, is anything but easy.
Also, I have regular encounters of prejudice against me based on my severe disability. Webster Dictionary defines the word “prejudice” as:
“1: injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one’s rights; especially : detriment to one’s legal rights or claims
2a (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge
b : an instance of such judgment or opinion
c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prejudice).
Prejudice often leads to discrimination which Webster Dictionary defines as:
“1 a : the act of discriminating
b : the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently
2: the quality or power of finely distinguishing
3a : the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually
b : prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment <racial discrimination>” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discrimination).
Sometimes we must make sure something is good by discriminating whether a fruit is fresh or not. But when it comes to human beings, we need to stop being prejudiced and discriminatory based solely on their outward appearance.
And I have never understood why white people think they are better than others simply because they are white. This problem with any and all people thinking they are supreme over others just confuses me. Of course, it’s especially apparent with children. Many adults of all races, ethnicities, and religions look down upon children and treat them as property.
Andblack people are rightly upset because throughout history other people have been prejudiced against them and have discriminated against them based solely on their skin color . This ongoing prejudice and discrimination is SO WRONG!
However, before anyone calls someone like me a “racist,” you need to walk a mile…Oh wait, I can’t walk, so it’s more appropriate probably to say… Roll a mile on my wheels. Let’s look at my reality for a moment since I have been looking at everyone else’s.
1. When I was born in 1981, I didn’t breathe for forty minutes. The doctors wanted to give up on me, but my dad almost had to punch the doctor so they wouldn’t stop working on me. It literally saved my life. I am a miracle.
2. Even after I was stabilized, the doctors still didn’t think I would live. My parents kept fighting for the best medical care I could get.
3. When my parents got me home and started raising me, they quickly saw that I wasn’t developing as a typical baby should. I rolled over and army crawled but I couldn’t sit up, crawl, or walk. I couldn’t always hold my head up in certain positions. I couldn’t control my arms and legs much. My parents had to go from doctor to doctor to figure out what was “wrong” with me. Finally at around 18 months, I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. After the diagnosis, they said that I wouldn’t do much.
4. I believe that some people looked at me and assumed I wouldn’t do much with my life and told my parents to just put me in a “special school” or just “put me away” as institutionalizing children and adults with disabilities was still happening in the 1980s. Heck, it’s still happening today in many parts of the world. Thankfully, my parents kept me and helped me to do the most I physically could such as hold my head up as much as I could, talk even though it was slurred, and use my hands a little. They saw that I wanted to do stuff and helped me to do things. They taught me that I could be like everyone else despite my severe cerebral palsy.
5. My family was in the working class. Both of my parents had to work to make ends meet, which meant fighting for all of the services and equipment that I needed that they couldn’t afford to provide for me. I often heard them fighting the school district for a full-time aide to be with me at school to both help me physically with my schoolwork as well as take care of all of my physical needs at school. They also had to fight the school to make sure I received the physical, occupational, and speech therapy that I needed.
School officials would look at me and assume I wasn’t able to even be in the regular classrooms so I had to prove that I could be in a regular classroom instead of in the secluded special needs class. In third grade I was finally mainstreamed into the regular classroom full time.
Then my parents had to fight with my teachers to cut down some of my homework or give me extra time to get it done because it took me longer than typical children to do my homework either by dictating the answers to someone or to type it up when I taught myself to type with my nose at the age of nine.
My parents always had to fight to get me the adaptive equipment I needed such as wheelchairs, “potty” chairs, and bath chairs because the insurance companies never wanted to cover any of that stuff and it is very expensive. All this fighting went on my entire childhood. Nothing came easily for me!
In eighth grade, my parents fought for me to get my first speech augmentation device. Again, these are very expensive and insurance companies don’t cover these most of the time.
6. Because everyone has always looked at me and assumed things about me, growing up, I never had more than a few good friends. And sometimes others would make fun of me if they didn’t know me. In junior high and high school, making friends was even harder because I wasn’t “cool” and couldn’t go out like everybody else did. Boys– forget it. My husband was the first and only serious relationship I’ve ever had! Nobody wants to be with the “disabled girl.”
7. Being in high school was even worse because on top of the friend and boyfriend situation, even my personal aide looked at me and assumed the worst about me. She told me that I would never go to college, get married, have the career I wanted, have children, and was destined to live in some group home.
8. Throughout my entire life I have always been the person with the most severe disability in pretty much every situation. I am the “Guinea pig” because I was so physically disabled that teachers and others didn’t know how to deal with me. But I always enjoyed proving people wrong. I truly hope that I have helped pave the way for other people with disabilities to be successful.
9. This means when I went to college, some of the professors had their doubts about me, assuming that, because of my appearance I couldn’t successfully complete the early childhood education program. Again, I had to prove myself and work hard to be at the top of my class, which I did throughout college and graduate school. I also had to prove that with the right help, I could work with children. They quickly saw that the children warmed right up to me.
Now you might think I’m done with fighting since I am married, educated, and an author. If so, you are absolutely wrong! It’s been two and a half years since I graduated with highest honors from grad school and while fellow graduates of all races and ethnicities have their careers and families firmly established, no matter how hard I try, I haven’t been able to to break through closed doors in order to firmly establish my career so that my husband and I have income and can have a child before we get too old.
I can’t say if any of this is due to discrimination or not but obviously prejudice has played a major role. I mean here’s what happens at my book signing events:
I just started noticing that some people do avoid me at my book events. As a teen, that was the way it was because I wasn’t “cool” and “like everybody else,” so only those who took the time to get to know me hung out with me. This was extremely difficult for me as a teenager.
I had thought it had gotten better in college and grad school because most were happy to talk with me. But since my book has come out, I’ve had a number of book signings in my area with only a couple people showing up.
At first, I thought it was because my book is about gentle, respectful parenting. Corporal punishment is so ingrained in our society, especially Christian society, that it can be very difficult to get people to see that God never intended for children to be spanked/hit.
But, after a recent book event where some people seemed to go out of their way to avoid me, it became obvious that it is more than just the content of my book. I’m sure there are other reasons why some people don’t approach me. I do feel, after being more in the public eye, some are afraid of me or intimidated by me.
How does this make me feel? I’m fighting back tears as I type this. It hurts. It makes me angry. It makes me sick.
Christians, I feel, should be the most accepting of me. Yet, at a Christian bookstore, Christians seemed to go out of their way to avoid me. But, God is using my disability for His GLORY! I am not being punished. My parents are not being punished. God needs me exactly how I am to do His work for Him which happens to be advocating for children, the least of these. Read John 9 for a better understanding of how God can and does use people with disabilities for His glory.
Please come talk to me. Ask me questions. I love talking with people. I love answering questions. My husband is always with me to help people understand me. Please don’t go out of your way to avoid me.
This is an excerpt from the interview I did with my friend on September 1, 2014. Please click here to read the entire interview.
Why am I telling you all of this? It’s definitely not to get pity! I truly hate pity! But I want people to understand, especially the people who call me “racist” and “privileged,” to see that I know hardship all too well. I know what it feels like to have people look at me and decide things about me, negative things about me, just based on my outward appearance. While I don’t have to worry about being pulled over by a cop for no apparent reason just because I’m black and facing the subsequent possibility of being beaten or killed due to police brutality and/or racial prejudice, I know I will never know what it is like to be a black person. But that’s where it ends because I’ve been called names, I get stared at, I get avoided, I’m not where I would be in my life if I wasn’t disabled. Able-bodied people will never understand what it’s like to be disabled. Believe it or not, people with mental disabilities were used in slavery. If they weren’t useful, they were thrown away in institutions where care was not high quality at all. Due to this, people with disabilities had shorter lifespans.
I don’t feel “privileged” because money is very tight for my husband and me. We drive a 20-year-old van that is dying and unreliable but we can’t afford a new (to us) van that my wheelchair will fit in, and people had to pitch-in so we could afford to buy me a new wheelchair, for which I am very grateful! I don’t get welfare or disability because for some reason we don’t qualify for it. My husband stays home to care for me 24/7 as it is extremely difficult to get reliable help for me, which is why I work so hard to find my place in my field. Nothing comes easy for me.
Yet, I feel like I have been crying out and protesting to the world that #peoplewithdisabiliteslivesmatter all my life through the way I’ve been living and fighting to prove people wrong. I feel that if I were to instead scream that “People with disabilities lives matter,” and complain about how bad people with disabilities have it that it wouldn’t show the world they’re wrong about me. It would only turn people off. It may even make some angry and not want to help or get involved. It may even make unstable people want to hurt and murder us even more.
Children with disabilities are very likely to be abused. I was abused! Actions speak louder than words, and because people look at me and assume I have nothing to offer, I do my best to live my life in a manner that educates and inspires. I’m almost finished with a children’s book about my cerebral palsy to educate children on how to treat people with disabilities with respect. And I have done interviews with my friend to educate others about what life with cerebral palsy is like.
Another thing is that TV shows and movies rarely have people with severe disabilities on them. Usually it’s either someone with Down Syndrome, Autism, or a person in a wheelchair that has upper body control. Every other minority group is regularly featured in tv shows and movies which is great! But! Finally, this fall on ABC, there will be a show with a boy with severe cerebral palsy!!
What’s even better is the boy actually has severe cerebral palsy!! The show is called Speechless. I cried for joy when I found this out much like black people must have when finally they were featured in TV shows and movies. But wouldn’t you know it that some ignorant person already put down the show because it will “normalize” “the disabled” and not make us want to cure them. Hate and ignorance is everywhere!
As excited as I am about the new show Speechless, it’s also important for me to point out that I don’t focus solely on advocating for cerebral palsy. Anyone following me for any length of time knows that my passion is advocating for all children. And when I do share things about disabilities, it’s about all types of disabilities. I do not feel any disability is more important than the other.
No matter what your race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, age, or disability, if you group people together and label them in a negative manner, that is wrong. All are equal. All matter! All deserve to be heard! All need a voice! But let’s do it in a way that gets more people to listen and want to empathize.
So I do understand why blacks have had it with the fact that people will look no deeper than the color of their skin and assume incorrect things about them. Bad things. They will assume that they’re thieves, thugs, criminals, or worse based upon their skin color. But the way to prove the world wrong about their assumptions isn’t by yelling, rioting, killing, beating, insulting, and destroying property. Such behavior only serves to reinforce the negative stereotypes and inaccurate assumptions about black people.
Love and peace is how we prove people’s assumptions about us wrong and enact change.