A few days ago I experienced various situations where I was discouraged by the behavior/demeanor by fellow humans. It really got to me. But I want you to know that despite how discouraging it was, I’m not giving up on you.
I attended my sister’s college graduation the other day. I was the beaming proud big sister who anxiously walked to the packed university center with my 4 year old and 8 year old sons in tow. We made our way up the ramp and my 4 year old held the door for me as I pushed my 8 year old in his shiny wheelchair through. We stepped inside to find hundreds upon hundreds of people hurriedly walking to their seats, so we quickly slipped into the bustling line of people. It was then that my love for humanity was tested…
To the man who thought it was okay to jump in front of me pushing a 70 pound wheelchair with a sweet little boy in it and then get upset when I touched your leg with the foot rest of the chair, I’m sorry that I bumped into you. I’m sorry that you felt the urgency to make your way in front of me because obviously having to walk behind me and my 4 year old son was just unacceptable. I’m sorry that you turned around and glared at me when the chair skimmed your pant leg. I’m sorry you scoffed at my apology. But what I’m most sorry about was that my 4 year old witnessed you do this with wide eyes. I don’t want him for one second to think that it is acceptable to rudely force himself in front of someone else and to laugh at apologies. The world doesn’t revolve around him, or you for that matter.
To the lady who stared at me with her “ugh” face as I gave my son his 15 medications through his feeding tube in the corner, I’m sorry you had to see this. I’m sorry that you had to see a teeny, tiny glimpse into my life of special needs. I’m sorry that you felt the need to stretch your neck over the side of the banister so you could peek at the monstrosity of a feeding tube while you told the person next to you to look also. But what I’m most sorry about is that there is a possibility that my 8 year old or 4 year old son saw you with your “ugh” face staring at us. I don’t want my children thinking that it is okay for them to gawk at others and their differences. No one is inferior to them, or you for that matter.
To the lady who told us to “pick up and hold him so my daughter can sit down”, I’m sorry you felt that you and your daughter were more worthy of a seat than my son. I’m sorry that you didn’t ask this in a courteous way because I would have gladly picked up my son so your daughter could sit down. I’m sorry that when we did move you didn’t say “Thank you” and that you just expected us to give in to your demands. But what I’m most sorry about is that my 4 year old witnessed you be extremely rude, disrespectful, and demanding. I am teaching my children to treat others with respect no matter who they are or what the situation is. Courtesy is not below them, or you for that matter.
To the crowd of people who thought it was okay to stand in the middle of the sidewalk as I patiently stood with my children waiting for them to step aside, I’m sorry that you had to move your conversation so that we could pass. I’m sorry that I couldn’t just walk in the grass to go around your discussion which was directly in the path of hundreds of others. I’m sorry it was muddy that day and wheelchair wheels don’t take kindly to mud. I’m sorry that you got upset when I said, “Excuse us!” as I tried passing you. But what I’m most sorry about is that my kids, along with the long line of others behind me saw this play out. I don’t want my boys to think that they are above anyone else and can take over any space and then be rude to another human being. It isn’t all about them, or you for that matter.
Everywhere I go, society/humanity seems to be going against everything that I am trying to instill in my children. How can my child rationalize what I’m teaching him when he sees grown adults do everything I tell him not to? I fear that humanity is only getting worse with it’s selfish, angry, entitled, rude, ME ME ME ways. There is a lack of love and kindness.
I want my kids to love others more than they love themselves. I want them to be humble. I want them to enjoy making others happy just as much as themselves. But above all else, I want them to be kind. Fortunately, my boys are provided with everyday instances where they encounter kind people who display respect and love for one another. This is what gives me hope for humanity.
Let’s stop living to please ourselves and let us practice love instead of anger. We live in this world together and have a long way to go. So in the mean time, I’ll be here trying to teach my children to love and respect others with a kind smile as I hold onto hope that this generation of ME will be short lived. Don’t worry humanity, I’m not giving up on you.
A hopeful Momma