A Man of Integrity

When I first met R, one of the initial things I noticed about him was integrity.  In fact, when my mom flew to Spain to visit, I introduced her to him and shared with her how much I admired his integrity and his heart.  I think she knew before I did that I would fall in love with him eventually.

This week, I saw his integrity shine through in a difficult situation.  In a professional setting, he heard a speaker use an insensitive, inappropriate term for people with special needs.  R handled himself so much better than I would.  He wrote a very polite letter and received an immediate response and apology.  Later, I realized that the day of this incident, March 7, was the National Awareness Day for the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.

Though the word "retard" was not the word used in this incident, it was a similarly hurtful word that devalues individuals.  As I have made friends with people whose children have cognitive challenges and as I have become a mom of kids with physical challenges, this has become a much more personal campaign for me.  I know how painful name calling can be.  But my words can't seem to express my heart or my hurt  nearly as eloquent as my husband's in his letter yesterday,

As the father of one such family, I firmly believe that one of the most important things we can do for the community is to help all people understand that individuals with special needs have unique challenges, but that they are an active, valuable, and important part of our community.  The terms that we use to describe any condition should not promulgate separation, exclusion, or that a person with special needs is "less than" someone who is considered "normal."

Yes.  Exactly.

Words do hurt.  And they can devalue.  Pledge today to end the word.

How honored I was to be his wife as I read those words, to know he stood up for other children and families who are fighting to be considered equal.    How thankful I am that the father of my children is a man of integrity.

We are blessed.

2 thoughts:

BMarie said...

A man of integrity for sure. You and your children are very blessed. Your blog has opened my eyes to so much and is helping me become more aware. Therefore helping me be a better parent. Thank you!

ywilbur said...

ohh. You hit a sore spot with me for sure. My older boy is dx with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, and borderline intelligence (yep that is a diagnosis apparently).

From age 8-10 we had a neighbor kid who would frustrate my son to major meltdowns but calling him retard, stupid, moron, etc...

Then one day that boys mother came knocking on my door to berate me that my son called her son a crack head. She was totally enraged. This was months and months of me complaining about her son's namecalling. When I said something like 'yes, I agree words are hurtful as I've been saying about your son calling my son names'. She completely lost it telling me that her son used 'normal' 'kids always do that names' while crackhead is a racial slur (her and her family are white, as am I but my older son is black).

To this day she and many others I meet say 'retard', 'moron' etc... are 'normal kid talk'.

I usually fume and do not act with integrity though. Your husband is a great example to me, and your family!

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