From the earliest moments in my childhood I was taught to never stare at other people because it was rude. Here’s the catch; I got stared at a lot! With the stares came uncomfortable questions: “Why are you so little?”
Of course that led to a sense of insecurity. Between my secondary issues I faced mostly as a kid, and all the stares, sometimes going to school was not so much fun.
Today, people still stare at me. Especially little kids. For me, it’s interesting to watch the parent’s response. The parent’s are often put in a very uncomfortable place.
How one mom changed my thinking.
I was shopping for groceries one day when a mom came up to me and asked if her child could approach me to ask a couple of questions.
Naturally, I wasn’t going to turn and roll away. The child wanted to know why I was in a wheelchair and why I was so small.
I could see that this child wasn’t staring at me just because I looked differently. This child was staring out of curiosity.
I don’t remember how I answered, but I do remember thanking the mom for allowing her child to learn something about me and from me.
While staring is viewed as rude to the general public, I have learned that staring can be valuable if it honors the person of whom is being stared.
To any parent who faces this awkward moment, I would encourage you to go up to the person in a wheelchair and simply ask if they can speak to your child.
If you’re the person in a wheelchair, I hope you will take the time speak to a curious child who wants to ask uncomfortable questions.
I believe the more we are educated about one another, no matter whether it involves a disability or not, the highest walls can be torn down and we’ll have the opportunity to see each other as people created in the image of God.