Skip to main content

Was That Rude?

At the Christmas parade last weekend! 
Hey everyone!

Christian and I experienced something recently that I wanted to talk about and share with you all! We were at his therapy center for him to do his regular physical and feeding therapy, and we were standing at the car because his therapist comes out to the car to get him to go into therapy and then brings him back outside to the car so that we aren't waiting in the lobby. We have been really cautious since long before COVID was a thing about germs and illness because illnesses always seem to hit Christian really hard. 

And then of course my dad almost died in February from COVID. So we just try to stay out of heavily populated places when we can and take common sense precautions like regular handwashing. So, one way we try to keep the germs down is to not wait inside the lobby of Christian's therapy center and instead we just wait in the car for therapies. 

So anyway, we were standing next to our car with his therapist, and another therapist came walking up with a child and asked the child to apologize to Christian. I didn't really know it was happening at first. I had no context, hadn't seen anything happen, but I have been through this several times, so I assumed pretty quickly that the child said something inappropriate about Christian's appearance as he had walked by and the therapist was attempting to teach the child a lesson in being kind to everyone.

But I didn't notice anything myself because I was talking to the therapist and trying to keep Christians safe because we were standing in a parking lot. So the child apologizes to Christian in the exact way you'd expect a child to apologize when they are asked to do so (lol) and the therapist explains that the child had said that Christian has no eyes when he walked by. So I smiled and said thank you to the child and began my very much at this point well rehearsed speech I give to kids. I let the child know that he was right, that Christian doesn't have any eyes, that Christian is happy and healthy and that he's okay. 

The child was very satisfied with that. They did not seem bothered at all. It was a very happy exchange and very quick. So when this other therapist and the child walked away, I'll let our therapist know something that I wanted to share with you guys because I think it's important in how others are addressing their own children and around people with disabilities. 

The child that said Christian didn't have any eyes had no reason to apologize to Christian, in my opinion. The child who said that Christian didn't have any eyes made a factual observation. Christian does not, in fact, have eyes. It's just a fact, and not one that caught us by surprise. Factual observations about Christian are not offensive. The fact of the matter is that Christian does not have eyes. The fact of the matter is that when little kids say that Christian has red eyes, they're not inaccurate, and they certainly aren't trying to be mean, because they are talking about the tissue that they see where Christian's eyes should be, something they physically observe, They are making a factual observation and that is not offensive. They are factual statements that, for our family, hold zero negative connotation whatsoever.

Especially for Christian, he doesn't hear something about himself that he knows is true, like that he is blind, or that he doesn't have eyes, and feel bothered by that. It's not hurtful to him anymore than saying that Christian has dirty blonde hair or that he wears a size 5 shoe. Those are things that just are. We have raised Christian to not believe that his not having eyes is bad. Is it hard sometimes? Yes. And Christian will tell you that sometimes being blind is hard.

And he'll tell you that other times being blind is pretty cool. Because hey, he has perfect pitch and he can hear things that
other people can't hear. But at the end of the day, Christian has never thought that being blind is inherently bad, or that the way he was made is inherently bad. He knows it's different, but you know that inside our home, different is celebrated and talked about as a good thing.

So when you punish a child for pointing out a factual observation, and I'll talk more in a second about the fact that it has to be a factual statement, then you are teaching that child that what they see is bad. Think about it this way. If you saw somebody in a wheelchair and your child said that person is in a wheelchair, should you punish or correct or make them apologize? I don't think so. To me, it's the same thing as saying this person has brown hair. This person has blue eyes. This person has dark skin. This person has light skin. This person has curly hair. Those are all simply descriptors that describe what we're seeing about a person, and those things are simply not inherently bad. 

In the same way, a person's disability is not inherently bad. If you saw Christian with his white cane, and said Christian has a white cane, that's not offensive. He does have a white cane! And in the same way, saying Christian doesn't have eyes is not offensive because it's the truth. 

So I wanted to caveat that of course with the fact that it has to be a factual statement. You couldn't say Christians eyes are gross or creepy. You you can't let your child say those things without correcting them, obviously because those aren't factual statements. Those are opinions and those are hurtful opinions. So in instances like that, absolutely correct your child, but in instances where your child sees a disabled person and points out a factual statement, confirm what they're seeing in a matter of fact and positive way. There is no need to be secretive or melancholy or sad about it.

When somebody is with their child and their child points out that Christian doesn't have eyes, I think an appropriate response would be to say, "You're right. It looks like he doesn't have eyes. He looks like a really nice kid. Would you like to go say hi to him? Do you have any questions for me about it? Some people are born blind. That means they can't see. Let me tell you about how blind people navigate the world without the ability to see."

Those are the types of things that you should be able to say to a child when they make a factual statement about a disabled person. Punishment is not appropriate because it teaches kids that noticing disabled people is bad. There must be something inherently bad about these people because any time I notice or mention them, I get in trouble. If they say something inappropriate about a person with a disability, of course, correct them. If a child tells me that Christian is creepy, I correct them. I say no, he's not. He's a kid just like you and he can hear what you're saying. So if somebody called you creepy, it would hurt your feelings. So please don't say that about him. And that's really all it takes 99 times out of 100 when I say that to kids, they stop I've had one instance where a kid didn't stop. So I think it's a pretty good strategy with a pretty good record.

I am 100% on board with openly letting people know where our boundaries are around this type of this, and so I don't hesitate to correct someone, especially in front of Christian, to let them know if something they say is inappropriate, but I wanted to share tonight that making factual statements about a disabled person's disabled parts is
not inherently bad, because the disabled person isn't inherently bad. 

I think it's all about how we present these ideas to kids that determines how they'll perceived disabled people as they grow up, so I think it's important to teach kids at a young age that disabled people are not to be avoided. They are not something that gets you in trouble for noticing. They are people, just like the rest of us, and they can be celebrated, differences and all, without the need to feel like you have to watch every word you say for fear of offending. 

I promise that Christian and I have grown a thick skin over the years. Noticing Christian's difference is not going to be the thing that breaks us. Please notice Christian's differences, and celebrate with us! We love every inch of Christian, including those differences and disabled parts, and we hope you will love him too! 


  1. Excellent work on the assignment! The way you tackled the complex concepts is inspiring. If you need engineering assignment help, there are many experts who can offer guidance. Keep it up!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why I Won't Allow My Toddler to Have Cosmetic Surgery

It strikes me as odd that I have been asked many, many times if I will have Christian undergo cosmetic surgery to repair his birth defect. Apparently, it's not an odd question to most people, because I could not tell you how many times I've been asked. The number literally lurks somewhere close to 500, if I had to guess. I am not AT ALL offended by the question, and I enjoy explaining my answer, but still, I find it odd to be asked. Imagine your beautiful child that you simply adore. Her little button nose, those ears he got from his daddy, that little smile with that one not-so-straight tooth right up front, those freckles that dot her cheeks, that bright red hair, or that jet black hair. As you imagine that, I am sure you have a few emotions that go along with it: adoration, admiration, love. You probably think that your child is the prettiest thing you've laid eyes on. Well, when I look at my child, with tissue in the place of where eyes should be, and a crooked s

My Experiences with Bullying

For anyone who follows us on Facebook, you have probably, at one time or another, seen someone make a rude or hateful comment on a photo I've posted of Christian. It has been happening pretty much since he was born. In fact, much of the reason that I decided to make the video that went viral was because of all the negative comments that we would receive, whether through social media or face to face when we were out in public with Christian. And I have to say, I am tired of it. I sometimes find myself unable to deal with a hateful comment on a particular day, or exhausted with the idea of checking my email and finding another rude comment left on my YouTube Channel. So this blog is my outlet to vent my frustrations and share my wisdom on the matter. I consider myself a professional at handling bullying, after all, considering all the bullying I've dealt with over the last few years. At first, the comments hurt. I remember the day that I first took Christian out in in public

If it Was Easy

Last week we visited Tennessee School for the Blind. This was a trip that I have been hearing about for about a year. I’ve known it was coming, but I had no idea what to expect. There was some anticipation with a touch of dread mixed in about this trip.  The purpose of this visit was an evaluation. That single word is too small to really describe what all took place, really. Christian was evaluated on pretty much everything. His vision was checked (no brainer, but they did have an ophthalmologist just take a look, to confirm his vision impairment. It’s always good to have it documented on paper.) The school AKA TSB also brought in physical, occupational, and speech therapists, vision teachers, orientation and mobility specialists, assistive technology experts, a psychologist, and just an entire array of specialists to do this evaluation. He was ranked against other blind children his age to get a more accurate measure because it doesn’t really give us a good picture to try to co