Monday, July 9, 2012

Stargazers...

Stargazers.

That's what I've decided to call them.  You know, the people who stare at Gavin when we're out in public.  Because let's face it - they're stargazing if they're admiring his movie-star good looks.  Am I right?

In my travels, I've met (and "cyber-met") plenty of people who get very irritated at Stargazers.  They come up with sarcastic comments - or shoot them nasty looks - or sweetly engage them in conversation.  I don't really do any of that and I'd like to tell you why.

Staring is human nature.  I've been guilty of staring and haven't even realized it!  Just last week when Gavin and I were at the hospital to get his wheelchair adjusted I stared at a family.  They were a Chinese couple - there with their young son who looked like he was recovering from severe burns all over his body.  I stared at them for probably ten seconds.  If they had looked up and saw me, they might have thought I was staring at his burns.  They could have been annoyed and said something nasty to me.  Why was I staring?  I was thinking, "How nice that the Dad came along for his son's doctor visit." because I know how much I like it when Ed comes along every once in a while.  That was it!  No malice.  No ill intent.  No negativity at all.

I've found myself staring at families with a young infant at the hospital.  I always hope that if they look up and see me looking that they can read my eyes.  My eyes would be saying "Hang in there.  It gets better.  Right now you feel like you're at the bottom of the well looking up into the dark night.  But your fears of what life is going to be like will not be your reality.  Soon you'll see that this child that needs your help will be the one that helps you...the one that changes you for the better."

I've stared at special needs kids.  Maybe I was looking because I thought their wheelchair was slick and wondered what kind it was.  Or maybe I was looking because they looked like Gavin and I wondered what their diagnosis was.  Maybe I just thought they were cute!

My point is - you never know why someone is staring.  It could be for reasons you'd never expect.  So letting yourself get irritated or offended or mad or sad about it is wasting precious energy...and allowing negative energy into your life.  And that's never good!

I want to raise Gavin and Brian to always assume the good in people.  I don't want them to get emotional about people who stare.  Even if the people are rude.  There will always be rude people in the world - but there's no reason that they should be rude in return.  I want them to assume, like I do, that anyone who is looking at them has to be admiring them!  Why not?  It's a much nicer way to think.  

And if people are staring simply because Gavin's "different" - well, it happens.  Gavin is different and there's no changing that fact.  I just think it's totally human nature to look and I don't judge people who do.  Not everyone was raised with the "subtlety" gene.  Me, included.

 That's what's on my mind today.




5 comments:

  1. One time, a well-meaning special needs mom ran up to block Bertrand from the view of a classroom of young kids. She remarked, "Could those stares get any worse?!" My response was "Oh, I thought they were just checking out his great hair!" ;)

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  2. My mom has always told me to "kill people with kindness". Just be as kind as you can to people and maybe, just maybe they will be kind back. And if they're negative, then that's their problem!

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  3. My mom always said to "kill them with kindness". All you can do is be nice to people and if they choose to be negative then that's their problem. It's especially fun to be SUPER nice to really grumpy people. :-)

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  4. Kate, I totally get what you mean. There are always those learing folks that stare because they don't understand what lives that don't mirror their own. I have stargazed myself, but just like you, it's never been ill-intended. Infact, one such recent case was at the McDonalds Playplace near our house. A woman came in with her two children, one wearing leg braces, and the other in a wheelchair. I watched both children for just a moment, but it was simply because they both exuded so much confidence, it was clear "limited" was not in their vocabularies. I didn't know this woman from Eve, but from watching her two kids, I could tell she was an amazing parent.

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  5. Well said! I love "stargazing." Kate, you are such a sensible, kind person. I am, as you know, not as forgiving about some people who stare. I don't mind the curious stares; I've done that too. We all have. I do mind when adults glare or shoot nasty looks, and Max has gotten those on occasion. And so while I am not hostile-sounding when I say "Would you like his autograph?"—I try to keep it playful— I do want to call people on what they're doing. And I just don't particularly feel like being sweet in response to outright rudeness. I think it is the New Yorker in me! And the fact that I tend to get overly protective of Max.

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