Saturday, August 18, 2012


Change is not always my favorite thing. I decided today that my scale to determine if a change is good is as follows: (since I like to sleep in Saturdays) if a thought of  change wakes me up before I want to be awake and a smile breaks across my face it is a good change! If a thought of change wakes me up and I want to do Snoopy dances laying in my bed it is a great change. If a thought of change wakes me up and I want to jump up on the bed, do a Chandler dance, and cannot control a scream of joy and happiness from escaping me then it was a life changing change worth waiting for! Sometimes change is not only good, but worth the wait!

Monday, August 6, 2012


It is late, or very early, and I'm having a hard time sleeping (I started this about 2:30 a.m.) Partly because I worked in my yard a few days ago and my body hurts, but mostly because my brain won't shut off. Today I heard a mom tell her son "you can't do that" in regard to an activity that all of the other kids were doing: a bean bag toss. This mom went on to tell her son that because he was autistic he couldn't do the same things other kids can do; worse, she told everyone there why her son could not do something. I about lost it. So I handed her son a bean bag, and told him how to toss it. He did not make it in the hole the first, second or even third time. But he eventually figured it out.

Labels are very dangerous things! Some people will have some limitations, but no one, NO ONE should be told that they can't do something. How sad when they believe you!

How many labels do we toss around every day? Stupid, idiot, fat, ugly, short, worthless ... I can go on and on. Nothing is more sad to me than when kids pick up on this and start using labels to describe another kid. I will be the first to admit I use these words far too often myself. I am fat. It is just a word to me; it does describe how I look, but it is a very dangerous word! This one word has changed my life entirely because of how people use it. Sure at 36 I can use this word as cavalier as I just did. It's a word to describe one single attribute about me. A little kid does not know what it means until an adult teaches him or her. Because a child does not understand all that an adult does, fat becomes a bad word.

Words can damage far worse than physical violence. Cuts, breaks, and bruises heal and are easily forgotten. But words stay with us and become who we are. Words like 'can't' and 'don't' become stumbling blocks to a child. I have been told that I can't sing so often that sadly I started to believe it. Imagine how different my life would be if I didn't listen OR if someone had taken the time to tell me what I needed was a good vocal coach!? 'Can't' should be banned! I can sing, everyone can sing!

Language is powerful. Language can be hateful and hurtful. How many of us have said offhandedly "that was stupid!"? How did you feel the next time your kid came crying because some other kid called him or her stupid? What did you say? If you are anything like me (or my sister because I do not have kids) you probably cried a little because your baby hurt. Kids, after all, are just very young adults! Hate and anger are learned behaviors for littles; as adults we can learn to be good again. Look at an infant, they are not born with the ability to tell someone that they are 'dumb' or 'can't' do something. They love, and cuddle, and cry, and eat, and poop. The rest is really learned. We are all born good; we have to learn the bad.

Human beings place labels on one another: white, black, Christian, Jew, smart, dumb, prett, ugly, fat, skinny, tall, short, rich, poor, blonde, brunette. Words are just words until we define them. Words do not define who we are. Yes, I am 'fat'. But that is not all I am! What is more: that is not WHO I am!! I cannot be summed up in three letters. I reject that as a label! And I reject anyone who would try to define any child with their words and limitations.

I work with people with Special Needs at church. All too often they are told that they cannot do something. Physical or mental limitations do indeed make it harder for them. They might be slower at an activity but I truly  believe that people with Special Needs can do anything that they set their minds too. Medical labels are the worst! We use them as excuses why a person cannot do something, not as reason why it takes a person longer. ADD, ADHD, obesity, autism, aspergers, deaf, Downs Syndrome ... these are not defining characteristics, they are limitations. They are reasons, not excuses. My niece with aspergers can do everything that every other kid can do, she just sometimes takes longer to do it. Sometimes she has to learn how to do it herself. Sometimes she just does not have the desire to do it at that time. I have never heard her parents tell her she cannot do something. They always encourage her to try, and figure it out. That is good parenting.

As an adult I now have things I have always wanted to do but have not ever done either because of fear or self doubt. It is not that I can't do something, it is that I have not yet done it. It is time to break the bands of CAN'T! It is time to break through the labels, and fight against the doubters in the world. I have always wanted to run a marathon. So I am going to run a marathon. I can run a marathon, it is going to take small steps to get there, but can't is a four-letter word. My Mom always taught us to avoid those nasty little four-letter words! Especially around kids!