Monday, December 31, 2007

Things I Know About

And so away we go. There are many things in this life that I still have left to learn. Of that I am very certain. But, that said, there are things I have learned along the road of life that might or might not help others along the way. today, i think i will tell you about one of the more precious gifts that I learned along the way.

I can't do this without a little bit of background. Many years ago, too many to want to say, my brothers 8 year old hand was placed on my shoulders. Born with almost no sight, his eyes continued to worsen as he grew older. I was 7 at the time that he became a part of my everywhere life. I don't recall ever looking back on that moment and feeling used or burdened in any way. In fact, I felt blessed and privileged to be trusted in such a way. I became his eyes and he became my first teacher of things I know about. We went everywhere together and learned to climb trees and run and play together.

Some of our adventures did not always turn out so well, but we carried on without looking back. His hand on my shoulder, I took a turn around the corner of our house too close and too fast. He of course had no idea that that the corner of the wall was there. I made the turn... he hit the wall full speed. that was the first but certainly not the last of the bandages and scrapes that he and i would both receive on our journeys. He went to a summer "Special Ed" school each year. I sat on the sidewalk and watched him go each day. One day the bus-driver asked me if I would like to come along. With my parents permission, I joined Dan at his summer school. I found it was less school and more a place for kids like Dan to be in the summertime. There were blind kids and deaf kids and mentally challenged kids. Some of them more severely challenged than others but all in the same scenario. A place to be when there was no school.

Now you might wonder what it was that I learned by being at that school. Thing I know about concerning caring for those that had a little trouble doing for themselves was something i took in and used it for life. I know that when you have a "sense" that is taken from you, your trust goes down until you find someone you feel safe with. I know that if you reach out in kindness and offer your hand in friendship, that you will have a true friend for the rest of your life. I also know that 40 years ago, the treatment of those "handicapped" children was not as watched as it is today. I saw things that I know now as an adult weren't right then. As a child, I knew only that if I spoke out, I would simply NOT be asked back again.

Children that were a bit... high strung or as it was called, "Unmanageable" were locked in closets until they calmed down. Blind kids weren't told that if they worked slower and used the senses in their fingers, they could not just read Braille. They could put together a model car or an airplane that looked like the picture on the box. They weren't told by too many that they could do virtually anything anyone with sight or hearing or without a "mental" handicap could do.
My friends became a mix of blind, deaf and mentally challenged kids that Would learn exactly that. My parents never treated Dan any different than they did the other four of us. He was asked to help clean our room and he played baseball with us. I know that the hearing of a blind person is multiplied enough to hear the sound of the ball as it is passing by them. I know if you toss the ball in an underhand motion slow that the same kid labeled blind can hit that ball a long distance. A deaf kid can swing just as hard as any other kid and a "mentally' challenged kid can hit the ball if you take the time to hold the bat with them until the day they hold it themselves.

The neighbor kids were always up for the challenge of playing against a team of "retards and blindies." How hard could it be to beat them? Well, true we didn't win a lot of games but... we did win the hearts and respect from the other kids in the neighborhood. They learned as I did that those kids had more heart and more desire to be the best than any other kid in town. They saw the want and the determination in those young peoples eyes. Moving up a little or dropping the ball now and then did not hurt the self-esteem of these kids, challenged or otherwise. They learned things that I already knew about. They learned that compassion and patience would earn them the place of trust and loyal friendship for the rest of their lives in these kids' hearts. They learned that one day in their adulthood, that the things they learned then might be applied to their own lives.

Things I know about? Well there are many more, but I do know that the day my brothers hand was placed on my shoulder was one of the greatest gifts bestowed on me. A gift that has kept on giving for the past 31 years. I will tell you more of the "things I know about" in another blog. This is just my first...

MySavings Media

Dollar General - Savings Zone Gevalia