When I was in middle school, years ago, I was pushing myself through the hall among other kids, going to our next class when a friend of mine pushed me into a wall. I didn’t think he meant to do it, nor do I think he realized it until a teacher saw it and decided to make him sit in a wheelchair and roll around during the school hours as a punishment. I know he must have felt humiliated at the beginning. However, by the end, my friend got a good idea of what I face on a daily basis. He got to experience many of the obstacles I face and try to figure out, himself, without getting out of the wheelchair, how to over come it.
This memory reminds me of that old saying, “Walk a mile in my shoes”. Suffice it to say, this young boy who had to use a wheelchair that whole week, learned how to “walk in someone else’ shoes.
Whether my friend was trying to move me out of the way or not, that fact that that experience made a difference in his understanding of people who use wheelchairs. We became better friends as a result.