Saturday, February 9, 2013

How to Handle the Stares...

This weekend I'm re-running some of my favorite posts to give new readers an idea of who we we think...and how we love around here.  This one struck a nerve when I posted it back in May.  Everyone handles the stares differently, and this is my take on the situation... 

MONDAY, JULY 9, 2012



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.

Parents Blog Award Finalist


  1. Thank you for re-sharing this post, I sorely needed it today. We took Matthew to the mall and a little girl, maybe 6 or 7 years old, was staring at him. She grabbed her mom's arm and starting hitting her to get her attention. She pointed at Matthew and both of them started to laugh. Stares still bug me, and I've been tempted to tell people off on more than one occasion, but your post helped me see it from another perspective.

  2. Ok to the other poster - I think if they started pointing and laughing I would have def used one of my snarky comments.

    You know, I don't like it when people stare - its as if they are thinking of all the things that are "wrong" with him - which to me there is nothing "wrong" - he just has challenges :) - but after reading this I think I have a different opinion, because yes more often than not I find myself staring- and I will ask hey that's a super cool chair what kind is it? my baby was 8 months old. Never to early to start scoping for the best equipment. Sometimes I do ask about diagnoses - I do alot of research and one day in the radiology waiting room I was actually able to refer a very young, overwhelmed and scared family to a great GI specialist - I really hope it helped. I stare, I am nosey, but mostly I really just want to help someone like me - a year ago - so maybe they are too :)

    Thanks for the insight :)


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