|By Angeline M Duran Santiago|
Sometimes parents carry hundreds of pics of their children saved, no longer in wallets, but now in the latest gadget. Pride beams through their eyes as they share the faces of their heavenly gift. Bragging rights take center stage trying to outshine others by sharing their child's skills, abilities and latest accomplishments. Celebrating our children is a wonderful right parents have and I commend parents that encourage, motivate and live to inspire and celebrate their child's every moment.
It is sad to see how even the best intended people let fear rule their hearts. They keep people out of their lives for fear of the unknown. They think if they invite your child to play or to a party, that their child will "catch" what your child has. Some parents behave as if being around your family stops them from having fun. You hear things like, "Well, you know, my son really likes ice cream, lots of snacks and pizza. And, since we know your son can't have any of that we didn't want him to feel left out." To me, that is ignorance at it's highest form yapping away.
Dear Beloved Parents, Your child will not get Diabetes playing with my son. Your child will not become Autistic playing with an Autistic child. Your child will not have seizures if they're around a child being treated for seizures. I assure you that your child will not get cancer, asthma, blindness, cerebral palsy, food allergies, sensory disorders, speech disorder, down syndrome or any condition like these by being in the same classroom with a child that has any condition like these. Can you separate the child from the label?
Your child will get hugs! Your child will get smiles! Your child will be blessed by the great knowledge all these children have because they've had to deal with so much at such an early age. Your wimpy child may get exposed to a brave, courageous and daring child who is not afraid of needles because they've had to inject themselves with one before they held a pencil to learn and write their names. They will get excited to see someone run with them that needs to use an inhaler before running.
Your child will learn that a very young friend can memorize information and learn about things in amazing ways while listening to a child with Autism. Your child's life will be enriched, and filled with greatness because each child is filled with greatness. Your child will be surrounded by love and strength because these children who have it a little harder than others are just so amazingly filled with extra love and more love. Health conditions is not who you are. The child's heart is who they are and each time you push one of these amazing children away, you are saying, "NO." to the gift that is ready to enter your life and your child's life.
I've been extremely blessed to work with children. They are all gifts that have been placed into my life. I acknowledge they all have different needs but I would never make them feel isolated, left out or different. I would never leave them out of an event or a moment in my life. Gifts. We all love them. We all want them. It's time to not only see your amazing, almost perfect child as the only gift before you. It's time to see that some parents may have more to do that others in caring for their child, but we all have kids worth bragging about.
So, the next time you want to make comments about our children, take your time thinking about what to say. Words push people away. I know what my son deals with daily, or at least I try to imagine it. Treat all children brought into your life the way you would treat any other super amazing child, as a treasure. Let your love and genuine affection be real and equal with every child. Don't be fake because they can spot false love immediately. Be true and real and you will discover that the greatest gift is the smile of a child that sees you really care. When you see a child, don't see the condition, see the bright, strong smile reaching out to you. Embrace them and your world will be all the richer as you allow your lap to be filled with the greatest treasure of all, the gift of a child's smile, hugs, and love.
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