www.geoffmitchell.com

You Would Think People Would Think

Let’s imagine, for just a moment, that you’re standing in line at a grocery store. You’re on your way home, some light groceries in a handle basket, and as you’re making your way to the checkout, a woman walks up with her young son. At first glance, all looks ‘normal’, but you start to notice that he’s got some extreme scaring on his face, like the kind left by an awful burn. Or no, let’s say one leg is slightly deformed and he rhythmically twitches.

Would you say anything to his mother, regarding his condition, in front of him? Would you lean over, point at his face or his twitching legs, and ask “what’s wrong with him”? Would you have absolutely no sensitivity for the parent, let alone the impressions being absorbed by his young mind, as to the struggles that such a condition might bring with it for the rest of their lives?

Or, when you recognize and realize that there’s something awry, wouldn’t you exercise a bit more discretion and consideration in how you react

I imagine most of us, those with any kind of ‘clue’ whatsoever, would do the latter. But you know what? There’s a lot of inconsiderate people out there that don’t seem to ‘get it’ and don’t hesitate to cross that line of appropriate and acceptable questioning. They don’t lean over ‘that line’, they trample it.

I know this, as does my wife, because it happens frequently. Our daughter was born with a neurological condition called Nystagmus, and this causes her eyes to move constantly. Some times it’s modest, and other times, especially when there’s lots of activity and things going on around, it can be dramatic. And although we expect and have encountered curious looks and whispered comments from children, it’s staggering to encounter that from an adult, let alone having somebody actually walk right up to you, point to her eyes within her view, and ask “what’s wrong with them”. You ignorant, inconsiderate… arrrrgh… I can’t continue, it makes me so angry and sad at the same time, and it’s a painful, shocking reminder to my wife that this is something our daughter will have to endure.

She’s a child. She’s innocent, impressionable, wide eyed, and taking everything in. And the road ahead for her will certainly include both questions and, sadly, ridicule. We’re hopeful that the movement may dampen and reduce over time, and perhaps that there will be some medical options available for her in the near future, but in either case, we are united in our conviction that she have as much confidence and security in herself as possible, and that any adverse reactions she might encounter are something she’s equipped to deal with.

It’s just startling to for both of us to encounter issues with adults.

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Written by gsm

10/02/2006 at 7:00 am

Posted in  Journal 

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