“On our way home from school my kids and I play the ‘highs and lows game.’ We tell each other our high of the day (best part) and our low (something they would change) of the day. My 12-year-old, Karington, told me her high trumped all others. This one brought the ugly tears flowing.
Her story started with, ‘Mommy, I made a teacher cry today.’ I don’t know why my first thought was a negative one. I definitely shouldn’t have doubted her. The rest of her story went like this…
‘There’s a boy in my art class with Tourette’s syndrome that everyone laughs at because he does weird things. Today he fell to the ground – that’s one of the things he does. I looked around and all these kids were laughing at him, so I walked up to him and laid down with him. The class stopped laughing. A substitute teacher (who happened to be the boy’s mom) was walking by the open door and saw me laying there with her son; she had seen everything. She walked into the art room towards me, crying her eyes out, thanked me, and gave me the tightest hug ever! Mommy, this hug was so tight, it was tighter than Aunt Jenna’s hugs! She kept saying what a sweet girl I was and thanked me over and over.’
My voice was replaced by a lump in my throat. Tears flooded my eyes; I squeezed them so I could see the road. I couldn’t respond. How could I find the right words to explain just how very proud I was? She looked at me, saw the ugly tears flowing and knew. I didn’t need words.
There is not a thing my child could do that would make me more proud – nothing! Not honor roll, not unbelievable talent, not being a star athlete, or anything we consider extraordinary. Nothing is better than standing up for what is right and showing compassion and empathy towards others.
If you’re a mother of a child with special needs, I want to assure you there are compassionate people out there who stand up for what is right.
Parents, I urge you to speak with your children about being different. Speak to them about autism, Tourette’s, racism, etc. Share the story of when you were bullied in 3rd grade and how it made you feel. Having taught first grade for 16 years, I know first-hand compassion and empathy are not learned behaviors. They need to be explicitly modeled and taught.
Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another. Listening with the ears of another. And feeling with the heart of another.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kristin Banga Adair of Plant City, FL. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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