A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.
Until You’ve Walked A Mile in My Shoes…
As parents of special children we’ve all been the recipient of some “interesting” remarks from others whether relatives, friends, acquaintances and even total strangers. It can occur at any moment – as you wait at the shoe store, the local pizza shop, the doctor’s office, shul and anywhere else you can think of. I like to divide them into the following categories:
The “Well Meaning”
This category of comments and questions are asked or said by someone who may genuinely mean well for you and your child but somehow many parents are left offended inadvertently or may feel uncomfortable. Some examples of well meaning comments include:
“You must be such a special person to have a child like this- I could never do what you are doing…”
“Hashem only gives us what we can handle.” (Said by someone who only has healthy children)
“You must be such a strong person.” (Said by someone who only has healthy children)
“Your child lives at home with you – I give you credit, I could never do that.”
“Call me if there is anything I can do to help.” (There is nothing wrong with saying this, but bear in mind, however, that the parent will probably never call you because no one likes to ask for help.)
The people who make the above comments certainly mean you no harm and think they are comforting you. When one says “I could never do that but you can because you are ‘special,’ ‘strong,’ ‘super human,’” etc., what they are really saying is, “You are strong and you can handle it so you have this special child but I am a mere mortal – weak and average and that is why I have ‘healthy,’ ‘normal’ children.” The truth is parents of special children are not angels, we pray that our children are healthy – I don’t think anyone wishes to give birth to a child with a disability. Yes, we have grown and learned so much from our special children. Our special children have taught us to take the time to stop and smell the roses, the power of patience and perseverance and the strength that it gives us. As parents of special children, we realize that every aspect of human development is a truly a nes (miracle) and we are privy to seeing so many miracles with each ounce of progress our special children make.
This category is the opposite of the above. The people who fall into this category have serious issues with bein adam l’chavero, are usually self centered and may be unhappy in their own lives and are inflicting their misery on “lucky” you. There is just nothing constructive about these comments. The following are some examples of hurtful remarks made to parents of special children:
“How could you bring this child home from the hospital?” (The best response I ever heard to this was, “The hospital has a no return, no exchange policy.”)
“How will you ever find shidduchim for your other children now that you have this child?” (How will you?)
“Maybe you didn’t daven hard enough or eat right during pregnancy.” (In an attempt to blame the child’s condition on the parent’s actions, this person feels that they who daven a lot or are cautious with their diet are now “safe” and will not have a child with special needs.)
“What is your child’s life expectancy?” (I don’t know, what’s yours?)
“Didn’t you and your husband go to get tested at Dor Yeshurim before you got married?” (They went to Dor Yeshurim and so they feel safe that this could not happen to them even though Dor Yeshurim cannot test for many disabilities especially the ones that are not genetic.)
A young woman walking with several young children in a stroller covers her kids’ eyes and said to the mother of a special child: “How dare you expose my children to your child!” (How dare you expose my child to your horrible middos…?)
A worker in a store said to a mother about to buy a nice suit for her teenage son who has Down syndrome: “Why are you wasting such a nice suit on him?” (The mother that this happened to responded, too bad you just lost a sale, I’m going to the store across the street.)
Said by an administrator at a local special needs agency when a parent asked for camp funding for her child through Medicaid Waiver: “Parents of low functioning children are greedy and entitlement oriented.” (Apparently some administrators of Medicaid waiver programs are lazy and out of touch with the needs of the families they serve.)
These comments are not usually meant to hurt others. Most of these are born more out of ignorance than malice; unfortunately they can hurt as deeply as some of the mean comments.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.
We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.
Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.
Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.
A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.
Dear Dr. Yael:
My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.
The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.
Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.
She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.
Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!
Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.
While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.
Masbia Soup Kitchen Network to provide 18,000 meals this Passover season. Volunteer!
No stress, but Pesach is less than a month away! Rebbetzin RLZ explains how important it is to do a proper Pesach cleaning.
When you say a cancer-stricken boy smiling and happy, you wonder why anyone complains about anything.
One of these days the Arabs are going to be very sorry if they have to live up to their anti-Israel rhetoric.
One of the lessons the IDF learned from the Second Lebanese War is how terrorists blended in with the scenery.
Nazi stamps used to tattoo death camp prisons are proof of the evil system as Holocaust survivors’ numbers dwindle.
An unprecedented number of 20 dentists from around the United States who are planning to make Aliyah to Israel took the Israeli Dentistry Licensing Exam, at the Nefesh B’Nefesh offices in Paramus, New Jersey, this week. This is the largest group ever to take the test outside Israel. Dentists who immigrate to Israel must pass […]
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/health/mother-in-the-shoe%e2%80%a6/2010/06/04/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: