Bloggers note: after completing this blog, I am offering it as a two part series — there is so much to be said, and I want to be sure that we read and get each word.
Here is my warning… This blog is about some pretty charged words. In light of where the world is right in this minute, I believe this time, right now is as good as any to reconsider a few words that would be best served if they somehow made it out of our vernacular, dictionaries both traditional and “urban.”
Turn on the television… to any given news channel, Fox, MSNBC, CNN… and network news and it’s just everywhere. Racial tension seems to be elevating. Wariness of the police is on a radical incline. We’re just not being nice. Collectively, as a people you and me.
That said, I wonder if we abolished some words from our use and replaced them with others if maybe that might not start a new trend of being kinder, a trend that could be contagious — make us all feel better and perhaps, well… start 2015 on the right foot.
Here’s the first.
The “R” Word. Have you ever said it? Have you ever thought it? I have, in moments of anger and in moments of humor. And you know what? It isn’t okay in either moment. It’s a word that we’ve chosen to use to define a person who performs at a slower rate than the “norm” we often apply it to a person with Downs Syndrome or some other condition that impacts their ability to keep pace with the “normal” among us. And here’s the thing… That’s crap. So let’s talk about Adison and Randy.
Adison is the young daughter of my best friend Dan. She’s precious in every way — including her extra chromosome that gives her Downs. She’s real, she enjoys Pitch Perfect, the Build-A-Bear store, and Rhianna. Dan…well he’s real with her and loves her in her every perfection. He’s amazing with her. When he looks at her I know he’s aware of her medical conditions, the things that she needs to be successful in her life. But it’s not a dwelling space for him, at least not that I see. So while Adison needs extra help in school, I defy you to find any person on this planet that has a larger capacity to love and accept someone just as they are…
Now let’s talk about Randy. Randy is a gentleman I often see at my local Starbucks. I don’t know the condition he suffers, but I know he lives in a group home among people that may or may not be much like him. Randy knew me from no one in particular, and this year he’s given me two key chains that he’s carefully crafted… Remember the kind? The ones we often made in summer camp? Well, I have two that were given to me by someone who just get’s being “kind.” So my concern of whether or not he understands the intricacies of Hamlet matter not one iota. Randy knows what it is to be kind — often in world that doesn’t show kindness back.
I think we’re making real progress with respect to this word — I hope we consider this every day and make the effort to see kindness… in every person.
Stay tuned for part two… another word that just needs to go.