For those of you who may not know, I was thrown into a new world when my son was diagnosed at age 6 with Becker muscular dystrophy. As a parent, this is not a diagnosis you ever want to hear. But the truth is, every day, a parent hears a diagnosis whether it be autism, down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, blindness, deafness, leukemia, or a myriad of other diseases. But the child should not be defined by their diagnosis and should be treated the same as everyone else and not just because they win a talent show. Don’t get me wrong, I am so for a child or adult winning a golden buzzer for their talent and because of their inspirational life. But as my son said at school, children who have a disability get treated way differently than if they are on a television show. He should know for the way other kids bullied him because he could not run in PE. This started in elementary school and amazingly, in spite of, he has just completed his first year of college and I am so very proud of him making the best out of what he has been dealt. He truly just wants to be just like everyone else.
This was not the topic I planned on talking about today, but when I saw Kodi Lee win the Golden Buzzer on America’s Got Talent, I was inspired to put words to paper and pour my heart out so to speak about people with disabilities.
As I am writing this, my first thought that struck me is how we label people with disabilities, and what is the politically correct way to do so? Even though I worked in special education before I became a full-time Realtor, there is still a lot to learn and consider on this very topic. Here is a great quote and article on this very subject:
As champions of diversity, we have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to set standards for how our people, organizations and society speak and think about people with disabilities. By shifting our language, we can help shift perceptions and promote the culture of inclusion that is the backbone of healthy diversity in all aspects of life.
Secondly, I am thankful for the wonderful opportunities available to volunteer and support organizations that create an enabling environment and inclusive culture for people working or going to school with disabilities. When I was a full-time para-educator who was introduced to an organization called “The Ranch”, I immediately jumped into helping with fundraisers and being a part of the board to help bring about these opportunities. That was about four years ago. As a result, I have been introduced to UCP (United Cerebral Palsy), the parent company of “The Ranch” and just recently learned about “Arts for Living”. If you would like more information on these organizations and volunteering, here is the link: http://ucp-slo.org/volunteer-now/. If you are not in San Luis Obispo County, you can google chapters in your area for further information.
Now for the reason that brought me to this blog today, my muse and inspiration, here are some videos of Kodi Lee for your enjoyment. May you be inspired by his talent as I have been.
Everyone has a voice. We just need to take time to listen.
Would love to hear from you regarding this topic or any other.
During the Great Depression back in 1938, scientists began tracking the health of 268 Harvard sophomores in 1938. They were hoping to learn what leads to happy and healthy lives. At the beginning of their lives, most think fame and riches are the answer. But over the years, quality relationships with family, friends, and community are what keep people happiest. Hear the history from Robert in this Ted Talk who quotes at the end of his presentation from Mark Twain: “There isn’t time – so brief is life – for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. there is only time for loving – & but an instant, so to speak, for that.”
Maya Angelou once said, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” I think of what Angelou said quite often because I strive to be kind, compassionate and helpful; I want to make sure at the end of the day, this is how I live my life.
We all desire to belong and have a sense of purpose. Community and relationships can be part of that purpose and built upon how you make the other person feel. I appreciate this heartwarming video that demonstrated how three young men made one widower feel. Thank you, Steve Hartman, of CBS Sunday Morning, for never disappointing and giving us a great example of how to build relationships, community, and belonging.