A question was asked on the Pierre Robin Sequence board:

As a parent to a special needs child, do you get offended when people ask “whats wrong” when they see a trach or something out of the norm with your child? how do you react to the question?

I admit that I still bristle at the tactlessness in the question, even though adults should know better. (I don’t mind tactlessness in children; in fact, I expect it and welcome the chance to educate a young mind. But I digress.) When confronted, though, I try to keep in mind something that my father has told me: “We’re not born knowing these things.”

This was an oft-repeated phrase. Whether it was in regard to my embarrassment in asking him something I didn’t know, or something that I thought someone else should know, his response was the same: “We’re not born knowing these things.” This is a piece of my father’s wisdom that I try to carry with me. When he told it to me, it never applied to anything to have to do with special needs — but it applies here all the same.

People have made being offended an art form. Some people seem to look for ways to get offended, just so they can rant about it, complain about it, even be compensated in one way or another for the injustices (real or imagined) done to them. And to be fair, there is probably much that I could consider offensive. But I prefer to spend my energies elsewhere. I find that I get a greater return if I focus on being positive, encouraging my daughter to be friendly in response to rudeness, and greater satisfaction when she has made a new friend.

This is, of course, an ideal. It’s something I strive for, but I do not always succeed in doing so. Neither is Namine always successful. We are, after all, only human. Sometimes it is difficult (oh so difficult) to strike a balance between the people we are and the people we want to be. Emotions get in the way; we are not always the logical creatures we pretend to be.

But the point is, we’re always striving. We’re always working toward our betterment. Every experience can teach us, if we let it. And if we are not willing to educate others, how will they learn?


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