Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Gift from Gracie

I've been getting gifts on this trip. There was the wonderful gift of Bob's old book. But most of the other gifts have been less tangible, comments from college students who use my books, chats with regular blog readers telling me of something that made a difference to them. Younger people, coming into the field, telling me that they want to to practice similar principles in their work as I have in mine. All of this is very cool, some makes me feel very old, but it's all cool.

I got up this morning and it's a long day. First a full day lecture here in Prince George and then it's a 9 hour drive down to Vancouver where we fly out tomorrow and head to Ottawa for a talk there. Yikes. So I wasn't much feeling like blogging today. Then I read a comment from yesterday, from Gracie1956 who had sent a story about her daughter using the 'Words Hit Like A Fist' cards. I loved it. I'm not sure that all of you get a chance to read all the comments. I take the time every day and often read comments more than once.

Only thing I'd like to say is that Gracie was very thankful to me, I want to share that thanks with Vita and in particular Manuela who approved the cards and worked on the wording with me. I get the spotlight because I put things out there, so I like to drag others into the spotlight. I shouldn't forget Vince, who was the guy who's team came up with the design and made them so perfect for the job. So Gracie, thanks for the thanks, hope you don't mind that I share it around.

Gracie's comment yesterday:

I have a story to tell you that I know you will appreciate. Today a friend stopped by to talk because she was upset about something. As she went about telling of her ordeal she referred to a person that she was unhappy with as "that retard" and my daughter, Amber was sitting right beside her. Well, Amber jumped right up and rushed off to her room. I thought she was upset because of that damned word and I was right.

Before I ever got a chance to say anything she was back in the living room with a card in her hand. It was one of the Words Hit Like A Fist cards! She very calmly and gently handed over the card to our friend and told her that the word "retard" hurts, so please don't use it. I was so proud.

She had so much dignity and I just sat back and watched her in awe. Our friend hugged Amber and told her how sorry she was with big tears in her eyes. I don't think she will ever use that word again. She put the card in her purse and promised to hand it over to the next person who used that word in her presence.

When the cards came in the mail I gave Amber one of them and I kept the rest. Every now and then I would see them in my wallet when I was at the store while getting money out. I even thought how I wished I could hand one out and teach someone a lesson. Silly me, I could not have done anywhere near as good as Amber did today. Now I know how it is supposed to be done.

I am just so proud and so grateful to you Dave for the great gift you gave my daughter today. Thank you so much for getting the idea of the cards to fruition, and for putting such a powerful tool in my daughters hand. You are simply THE BEST!!!

Isn't that a gift that's worth getting up in the morning for! Thanks Gracie, you can't know what that meant to me.


Terri said...


gracie1956 said...

Dear Dave,

The work you do is so important to the handicapped community and to the rest of the world. By increasing awareness about this very important issue you are improving not only the situation for handicapped people but for everyone. Can the rest of the world ever be truly happy and free as long as any segment of society is marginalized?
Please just know that you are appreciated by my daughter and I, and by a whole lot of other people I suspect.

Ashley's Mom said...

Dave, I also received my cards about 2 weeks ago. I had a booth set up last Sunday at an event for parents of children with blindness and deafblindness. Ronald Mcdonald, the clown from the fast food place, was present, and I heard him use the word. I handed him a card and he sheepishly walked away and started talking to someone so as to ignore further conversation with me. But hopefully the point was made...

Holly said...

I have a little story I thought would fit this topic.
I support an individual who has Downs Syndrome and often bring him to my house for dinner and to hang out with my family.
I had recently moved into my neighbourhood and had not met my new neighbour.
When we arrived to my house my neighbour came over to introduce herself to me. As our introduction was taking place "my friend" stepped out of my car.
My neighbour was just in the mist of telling me little about herself and her husband...."We are retarded....I mean retired. Not missing a beat!
My heart stopped and I am sure my mouth was hanging open. I was shocked and did not even have a response.
I really could have used one of those cards.

Carolyn said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog for quite awhile, but have been to shy / unsure of myself to post a comment until now. I just wanted to say that Gracie's comment was indeed a wonderful gift. As well, I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog, and it gives me strength in myself, as a person with cerebral palsy, that sometimes I have trouble finding on darker days.

Thank you,

Shan said...

Wow, that is fantastic.

wendy said...

I just have to respond to Ashley's mom...RONALD MCDONALD...orange haired rep of McD's...used "the word" in public???? There's an employee who needs to be reported! He's dressed up like a kid-friendly clown and uses that word in public. There's a manager somewhere with a very serious PR problem roaming loose!

livia-the-great said...

that really is a gift to read about. certainly gives me hope- about people being open to change, as well as for giving my daughter a simple, powerful tool for expressing herself and raising awareness for everyone (when she's a bit older of course... she's only 2).

a few weeks ago in a department store, i overheard two young girls about 12 years old use a term in german ( i live in switzerland) that must be used as the equivalent for the "r" word, and it translates into "handicapped". one said to the other, "oh, that's so handicapped!" it was the first time i'd heard it and i really wished i had such a card to hand out to them...

btw, thanks for your writing... i'm originally from toronto/muskoka, so reading your blog helps me to stay somehow connected to my canadian home.

Lisa - Lily's mommy said...


I just wanted to thank you so much for sharing that - it is a beautiful story and a beautiful story about the gift that you and all the people involved in making the cards have passed along to others.

I ordered cards and received them a couple of weeks ago and want to thank you and your team so much! I have not yet given a card out, but, I do know that I will and do know that I will pass them to others who in turn will hand them out. I also understand what Gracie said as well - how she wondered when and how she would give them out. I have one friend in particular who I want to give the card to - she uses the word and yet I have not had the courage to say anything. Amazing it is because I call people out on it all the time, so for me to not have said anything to her really makes me wonder why I can't do it. And then I feel like a hypocrite for not doing it. But, I thank you for the cards - one day soon I know I will just leave one at her desk and she will be left to ponder and hopefully it will make a difference.

Thanks again for all you do! I so enjoy your posts!

Lisa - mom to Lily who is almost 4 and blessed with something extra