I mean it really is a descriptor.
I don't consider myself a PC kind of person that gets offended easily because someone used the wrong word to describe something.
I have a plate on my car that is considered a "handicapped"plate.
I park in "handicapped" parking.(when Lucas is with me and I feel it would be a better thing for him)
So here's the story:
The other day I was talking to someone at baseball that doesn't know us well - yet. But, we are getting to know eachother. I like her.
We were talking about how I had put Lucas into PeeWee baseball but when he went to the first practice the coach called me and said he might be better suited for Tball since he hadn't played before. I had already dropped him one level per the age they normally would have put him in for PeeWee. So it kind of became a big deal at that point for Lucas. What I heard in the conversation from that first coach was that they suggested it so he could learn the skills needed and it would be a little more laid back than the PeeWee's. I could see that team already had skills he didn't have and it was obvious they all understood the game well. I chose to put him in Tball, especially since it is a Fall league with the hopes that he may be able to play PeeWee in the Spring.
Back to the conversation with my new friend...
She asked if they put him in Tball because of his "handicap"?
Why was I taken aback by that?
His legs are obvious.
He runs well, but not quite as fast as the other kids.
There are some obvious differences.
I told her I didn't think so. I thought it was more because he just doesn't have the skills quite yet since he has never played the game in his life. At least that is what I am hoping was the reason.
But, it made me realize.
I don't think of him as handicapped.
I just don't.
I rarely cater to it.
I expect him to do the stuff I ask him to do and figure out a way to do it.
Admittedly, I don't think he will ever be a balerina. But, that was never my goal for him anyway.
The reality is the world does see him as "handicapped'.
So in my own mind I'm thinking what does that word really mean and why would it catch me off guard so much? Do I have an issue with thinking someone who is handicapped is less than ?
Maybe that's the bigger issue?
Am I thinking handicapped means something that would label him as less than capable of doing things--mentally or physically? Is that why it bothered me? Is it because I see it as an obvious defect or delay or inability to accomplish something?
I think her question forced me to ask myself if I have an issue with that word. It was a completely innocent question. She is not the bad guy here. It just made me wonder how other people see Lucas and how I view the labels that could potentially come in his life. If he is labeled as "handicapped" that will give him an excuse to not live up to the goals he sets...(ie being a fireman)
The whole thing made me reflect on my own issues with the word not only for Lucas's sake but also for how I personally percieve others that could be handicapped. I have to check in with my own judgement and how I view them. convicted!
Whenever something like that offends me so much--I should always ask myself "why?"
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?