Last week I had the opportunity to talk with a group of children about respect for others. I talked about how people are more alike than different. Showing the children pictures and asking them to stand if they were like the child in the picture really brought this home for them. We also talked about how children with disabilities were more like them than not. The children had the opportunity to see photo's and look for ways that all children could be included and given the same opportunities. The children learned about empathy and treating everyone with respect.
As it would happen, I had to take my 89 year old mother to the doctor that afternoon. She has difficulty walking, very poor vision, can't write much, and is very fragile. However, her mind is usually pretty sharp. As I was driving her to the doctors, I was reflecting on my lesson. I decided to "respect" my mother more by allowing her to do what she could, unlike doing it all for her. It started by dropping her off at the door and helping her into the building. I went and parked the car, while she used her walker to walk over and check in. After parking the car, I entered to see her just walking up to the window. I almost followed my old pattern and went up to take over. Instead, I stood back and watched. She checked herself in and even signed her name. When she turned to head over to be seated, I joined her. She was smiling ear to ear!!!! It made her feel "respected" for what she could do. I also noticed that the doctor always talks to me. I stopped looking at him and looked at mother forcing him to talk to her. I did have to help interpret some, and give feedback, but she felt respected as a adult, mother, and woman. Isn't that what we all want!
It seems none of us are too old to learn!
Norma Honeycutt, Executive Director