On Saturday, as my son and I enjoyed our weekly swim, I noticed a woman yelling at him in the pool for him to move away from her. Of course, Nate didn’t understand, as he is deaf and blind. So, I immediately moved to him as I apologetically explained to the woman his disability. However, she was not listening, as she spoke over me, expressing her issue with him being near her. I smiled, not wanting to be confrontational, as I helped Nate out of the pool.
This wasn’t the first time, that I encountered someone and their attitude toward my son. Another time during swimming, another woman would literally run away from Nate in the pool, if he swam near her. When she was tired of him, she would rush out of the pool, in the safety of the whirlpool. I would look at her, giving her a smile, as a look of distain appeared on her face.
Those two encounters are only a few of the many that I have noticed throughout the years. A few times, I have seen looks and grimaces on people in stores and restaurants. They look uncomfortable with the sounds Nate makes, the flailing of his hands, or perhaps his looks.
I know that I can give someone a “piece of my mind,” or a lecture on people with disabilities, or even a mini-lesson on treating my son and others like him with respect. However, I choose not to go that route.
Instead I have made the decision to be patient with people. Perhaps my patience will allow someone to see who they really are in relation to others with disabilities. I’ve seen it once, with someone “apologizing” to me for not “seeing,” Nate’s disability. I know this was only because of my patience and me not having an attitude.
It is true that if we are calm, and display patience toward people, who are not kind toward our children, they may be taught a lesson that they will never forget.