Tuesday, May 14, 2019


And suddenly a door opened and I was surrounded by children. Small children. Young enough to be curious. Young enough to have flexible minds. Young enough to see I was different. Young enough to connect with my eyes and see similarity.

The questions flew out of them. They had to fly by the discomfort of adults who worried about me, as if they thought the questions would somehow lead me to guess that I was different and be hurt by that. But the words flew quickly by objections.

"Why are you sitting on wheels?"

"Because I can't walk very well."

That answer simply satisfied.

"Is it hard to get around?"

"Sometimes, but it's really fun going downhill."

That made them smile as they imagined the scene.

"Does it hurt?" came a quiet question from the smallest child.

"It doesn't hurt to be in a wheelchair but sometimes it hurts when people stare."

She nodded. The reality of bullying starts very early.

Then, they flew away. Some waving, some calling 'bye'. Some just taking off home.

It was so nice to have a conversation about my disability and my wheelchair with people, many forget that children are 'people', who haven't already decided what the answer is, or should be.

Open minds.

Open hearts.

That's always the best way to enter into conversation, isn't it?


Ron Arnold said...

I would like to eliminate the societal systems that foment judgment and expectation so that adults can approach something or someone different with the same open information gathering ability kids haven't had ruined yet.

Karen said...


Rachel said...

Little kids can be awesome. "Are you a mommy?" is a question I've gotten on more than one occasion from really little ones. My response? No, not a mommy, but I am a grown-up just like your mommy. My bones didn't grow the same way as yours will. Some people grow extra-tall, like basketball players; some people end up extra-short like me, people come in lots of sizes. You're going to end up way taller than me when you grow up! That last bit is important - both reassurance and also they love the idea of being taller than an adult.

If it were only that simple with adults. I don't get condescended to by children.