I’m a thirty-sixÂ year old woman and I’ve been humbled by a four-year old.Â I’m not surprised; I’m humbled and made a better person by my children all the time but this particular incident has reallyÂ touched me.
My four-year old has a friend at pre-school.Â He talks about him ALL the time.Â How much fun he is, how much he makes him laugh, what a kind boy he is, what they play with together.
Because it wasÂ my son’sÂ birthday yesterday,Â at the end of his session he sat on a special throne-like seat to give out pieces of cake to his classmates whilst myself and our youngest sat alongside him to watch.
The children receiving the cake were prompted to say ‘thank you’ by the teacher and then Max’s special friend came to collect his…and the teacher signed at him to say ‘thank you’ and he signed back.
Turns out, Max’s special friend is deaf…a fact that he hasn’t ONCE mentioned in the five months he’s been at pre-school.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t for one minute expect him to discriminate against him, tease him or treat him any differentlyÂ WHATSOEVER because of his disability…partly becauseÂ my sonÂ (hopefully) doesn’t have it in him to be meanÂ but also because we bring our children up to treat all people as they would want to be treated, with respect and kindness.
No, the reason I’m humbled is because he hasn’t mentioned the fact ONCE that when he communicates with his friend he doesÂ so by simple sign language and lip-reading.Â For my son that’s just how it is.
He isn’t friends with this boy ‘because’ he’s hearing impaired (in some sort of misplaced pity attempt) and he isn’t friends with this boyÂ ‘despite’ his disability (as though it could make a difference but he’s chosen to ignore it).Â They’re just friends.Â Plain and simple.
I hope that our son continues to live his life with the complete, 100% acceptance of other people that I witnessed yesterday.Â BecauseÂ at four years old, nobody had to tell him to see what’s on the inside regardless of outside differences.Â He did it automatically.acceptance, children, learning difficulties, proud