Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What It Feels Like

I'm blogging this story with Sadie's permission.

Our morning routine is to drop of the elementary boys first (Dom and Wilson) and then head to the Jr. High and drop of Sadie, Leon and Ricardo. JImmy and Tony ride with the neighbor who is my very best friend because of that one small deed that saves me so much stress every day.... but I digress.

Often Dominyk is murmuring as he gets out of the car that he doesn't have friends and people make fun of him. And Sadie laughs. Pretty, popular, smart, no special needs, she for some reason thinks it is funny ....

Until a couple weeks ago when it was Homecoming Spirit Week. Sadie spent the weekend getting her outfit ready for Monday. Bart had to take her to the store so she could have it just right. It was cowboy day and she looked really cute. She was all excited until she got to the front of the school and saw that nobody else was dressed up. And even though she really didn't look much different than she does most days, she couldn't make herself enter the building.

I was not going to take her home to change. I wanted her to learn a lesson. I debated for a long time what to do, but I felt that this was something she needed to figure out. Finally after a power struggle, which I've learned how to avoid most of the time, she got out of the van. And walked home to change. The rest of the day was very irritating because she chose to continue to make poor choices, but I'll leave out those details.

However, I was able to turn this into a very thought provoking lesson for her, and I think she got it, which is why when I asked if I could blog about it, she let me.

I told her, "Every day Dominyk is different from everyone else. Not just in the way he looks, but in how his brain works and how he acts. He can't help it. And every day he has to make himself walk into school knowing that he is different. Except that he doesn't have the choice. He can't walk home to change his clothes so he can automatically fit it."

I continued. "You are blessed because you have no special needs. You fit in. But I think you have learned that maybe Dominyk has more courage than you do. Because every day he walks into the building knowing that he will be made fun of. You couldn't make yourself do for one day, what he has to do every single day of his life. I hope that you will remember the feeling you had when you couldn't make yourself be just a little bit different for one day the next time Dominyk says that he has no friends."

It was a hard lesson to learn, but she got it. And I think she'll remember it for a long, long time.

5 comments:

Monica said...

What a great lesson. I'm trying to get my 17year old to get it (and she wants to be a child psychologist...I keep telling her when she's teasing the younger kids "Practice child psychology now".)

I wish I could figure out how to get this lesson across to my middle child who says unbelievably mean things about my youngest who has delays because he was not potty trained until after age 4...even though she was/is still having wetting accidents at 12 and 13.

I hate it when my kids treat each other with so little compassion. You did a great job with yours here.

Torina said...

That is awesome. I can see using that example in the future...thank you for sharing!

Gary Zimmerli said...

That's a valuable lesson for us all, Claudia!

Mary said...

What an amazing lesson! Yah, Sadie! (And Mom.)

Angela :-) said...

That's a good reminder for all of us, I think.

(Thanks, Sadie, for letting your mom share.)

Angela :-)