Thursday, April 9, 2009

Changing Attitudes

Currently Reading: I'm up to ch 12 on The Lady Makes Three; I spent yesterday writing, so maybe I'll get back to the reading today?

Two views this morning, one from a high school and another from the employment industry.

First of all, there was the story of the autistic kid who scored 20 points in his high school's championship basketball team three years ago. The kid is now an assistant coach, and has inspired other special-needs kids to aim for their dreams.

Two such kids made that dream a reality this year. They were able to make the team, and each won sportsmanship awards for their contributions to the team, averaging anywhere from 9-20 points in any given game.

The Early Show carried their story, and the two seniors have been given the chance to go to the Boston Celtics basketball camp this summer.

Why do I bring this up?

My daughter was watching this story with me, and she revealed that the special-needs kid in her gym class is well-liked; he's never chosen last; all the kids cheer him on, even when he's clearly lagging behind in the activities. She asked me if there were any Special Ed kids in my school when growing up.

There were two. One had cerebal palsey, and I'm sorry to say the kids weren't always nice to him. They never did anything physical to him, but no one went out of their way to help him or befriend him. It wasn't 'cool'. He was always chosen last, sat by himself a lot, and ate by himself in the cafeteria. When my friend Angie and I reconnected a couple weeks ago, I asked about him, and she said he still lives in town, is in a wheelchair, and she once chauffered him around to do his errands.

The other special needs kid was the daughter of one of my father's co-workers. She and I became friendly in choir, and when my dad helped them move into a better apartment, she asked me to look after her beloved cat, who would need a home after the move. When a major snow storm hit, my dad picked us up at school, since the busses couldn't get through, and she spent the evening and part of the next day with us, playing happily with my sister and I, and enjoying the companionshiip of her cat.

The storm had knocked out our power, so we were thrilled to roast hot dogs and marshmallows in the fireplace, and playing board games by candlelight.

Her personality was more outgoing, and while I think I was the only friend who invited her over, she was well liked all through high school and college. She passed away the year I married (her beloved cat lived only one year longer; he was 22 yrs old and would have needed dialysis, so my parents lovingly sent him HOME after letting me make a speedy trip up to say goodbye) and among her things found after the funeral were several letters I'd written her over the years.

But the point I was making to my daughter was that when I was in school, the special ed kids were kept separate; they weren't normally in the classroom. I don't even remember seeing any Down's Syndrome kids until high school, and even when I worked in a facility after college, the kids were pretty much segregated.

So it is nice to see that society's views of these kids are changing; the higher functioning ones are capable of being integrated with other kids their age; that no one os going to 'catch' their disease. Yes, the attitude of parents, kids, siblings...all play a huge part in these kids' lives, but given the chance to succeed...they may surprise you in ways you never dreamed.

One of my favorite busboys at the country club was 'slow'. The other wait staff complained about him, when he would set a table wrong, or spill something. But I worked with him one long Father's Day, when it was just he and I in the rapid-turnover seating area, and he was the best helper! He didn't smoke, so he wasn't always disappearing into the kitchen; he took it upon himself to offer refills of water, tea, and coffee; he helped pre-bus tables while I was taking orders, delivering food, or making out the checks. After that day, I not only gave him a large cut of my tips, but I made it known to our supervisor he was to be MY busboy for the rest of his employment! Some of the other busboys snickered, but when I publically defended the kid and pointed out I didn't have to always go looking for him, they shuffled their feet and found other places to be.

There's a report out of women getting face lifts in hopes of landing their dream job.


As the woman interviewed defended herself, "Jobs were going to less qualified people, but they looked younger. I feel great about myself, and if this helps me land a good job, then it shows my committment to doing my best work."

Oooookaaaayyyy...So are you saying you'll keep getting nipped and tucked in order to keep it?

Personally, I don't buy it.

Just heard this: Divorce parties? Okay, I guess it might offer closure. When I first heard the story, I thought it was going to be seedy, but this might be a good way to put a positive spin on an upheaval in life. Just don't do anything tacky or insensitive, especially if you have kids! That would do more harm than good.

Off The Soapbox; Today's To-Do List:
-Empty the trash
-Pick my excerpt
-Pampered Chef party tonight at a friend's house
-Make sure I have all the ingredients for Easter Sunday!!


Anny Cook said...

Loooove Pampered Chef stuff. Enjoy your day!

Mia Watts said...

Precisely what kind of career was face-lift woman aspiring toward? Would assume something similarly desperate and needy as her self-worth issues. Believe such "career" choices are illegal in most states? unless called "massage parlor".

Molly Daniels said...

LOL, Mia...I think it was an office job...administrative assistant or something.

It reminded me of the film 'Thoroughly Modern Millie'...out to marry the boss!

Regina Carlysle said...

I'm happy to hear that your daughter is seeing kindness and inclusion regarding the special needs kids. They haven't been so kind at my daughter's high school. Maybe that's why she's is so happy to have graduated. Kids can really be mean.