Friday, January 28, 2005

Something that upsets me....

                                              

Alex and me today.....  

Alex:  I love you, Mom!

Me:  I love you, too, Alex...

Alex:  Merry Christmas, Mom...

Me:  Happy Valentine's Day, Alex!!

Alex:  Valentine's Day?

Me:  Yep...Valentine's Day is coming...Christmas is over!!

Alex:  Oh.  Merry Christmas, Mom!

::sigh:: 

He does make me smile with his pure love and innocence....  

Speaking of.........something has been troubling me lately.  I've been hearing something with more frequency lately, and I generally bite my tongue, but sometimes....ya just can't, y'know?  I'm hearing 'You're so retarded.  That's so retarded.  I'm so retarded.'  Here's what I want to say:  Are you really?  Is your situation really retarded?  Or is it that you just don't have a grasp on using the right words?  My SON is retarded.  Yeah, I don't use that word....it's offensive to me.  'Retarded' is not a joke.  I WISH it was.  I look at him and wonder if he knows people laugh about a condition he has that he had no part in and can do nothing about.  He must be so frustrated inside...not to be able to communicate with people he loves so much.  A part of him has such innocence...and *I* make sure he stays that way....I try to make sure he doesn't hear things like 'that's so retarded..' even though HE doesn't know...*I* know.  I hurt FOR him.  I'm tearing up as I type this...but I try to think...maybe people just don't get it. They don't KNOW.  I wonder...would the same person who says 'That's so retarded' say that if their own child became retarded.  Would the phrase be as amusing or offhand......  obviously, I would hope the phrase is never directed AT him.  There would be bodily harm happening if it ever were to happen...but still....the word is offensive.  It's like the N word.  It's crude, and nobody says it.  Well, educated people anyway......  I just.....::sigh::  I don't understand......

and with that....I think I'm done.

23 comments:

  1. This made me tear up. I remember getting in trouble when I was a kid because I called someone retarded. I didn't know what it meant and I just said it. You brought it home with this entry. It is offensive and it is used so lightly. I admire you and Alex.

    ~Jaime

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  2. This is food for thought.  Thanks!

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  3. I can feel your pain ....But really he's not retarded he's just mental challenge . And the most important thing ...............
    HE"S YOUR SON !! And I know you as well as the Family Love him very much and he's one lucky young man ... God Bless

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  4. Amy I have worked with the the so called retarded for 18 years and I too cringe when I hear that. I cant even come close to knowing how that makes you and your Alex feel.
    I dont think people think when they use that word so freely.
    I remember my son using it as a young boy , he never used it again ill tell ya. Well not in front of me anyhow.

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  5. My daughter is at that age where she is starting to pick up more and more words from school. She'll use a word I've never heard her use before and I'll say ... "Do you even know what that means?????" Usually she doesn't but just decided to call her brother that because that's what her best friend calls her own brother etc.
    Thanks so much for sharing this ... it reminds me why it is so important to be vigilant with our children's use of language.

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  6. Amy, I had a little brother that I loved very, very much.... Sometimes others would make comments like you mentioned and it hurt us a lot. He was so special and we learned so much from him. His spirit was precious, and he is still a part of us. Your Tennesse friend, Dad

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  7. Amy-
    I am also highly offended when others use the word "retarded". Whether it be to describe a condition or just to use the word as slang. It's absolutely unacceptable to me. At work if I hear that word, I say something. I always have and sometime I'm not very popular for correcting someone on what the word truly means. What do I say about that? TOO BAD! Don't use that word and you won't hear me speak!!

    I say that anyone who uses the word "retarded" in a unacceptable manner, should have to donate $100.00 (maybe even more) to the National Special Olympics Foundation. So there to all you mean people out there who use that word!

    Lots of prayers to you Amy,
    Gayla
    http://journals.aol.com/schoolgal040/SoMuchMore

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  8. Amy,,,my oldest dd is one IQ point above what they consider retarded...She is also bipolar.  I hate when I hear people use the word retarded in such a way that it degrades.  Ihate the words stupid and dumb too.  Hugs to you and alex.
    becky

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  9. I find that word used those ways to be offensive as well.  I never have used the word retarded in my vocabulary, in fact even when I talk about children and adults with this condition, I refer to it as Mentally Challenged.  I wish more parents would teach their children RESPECT.  *Chrissy*

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  10. You must consider the source. I don't agree with people using that word, that way, but I would think none of them mean it as mean.  It's a stupid expression, that like many before it, WILL GO AWAY. I understand how it hurts you, and I sympathize. Know one, who hasn't walked a mile in your shoes, could ever really appreciate how it hurts you. You are such a joy, don't let "small minds" ruin any day for you. rich

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  11. I agree with you.  Also, I hate the word "gay" used the way kids use it now.  "That show is so gay."  "That game is gay."  I always find myself hoping they'll say it offhandedly while standing by a very large, very mean, gay man! LOL

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  12. My neighbor's adoptive son was born addicted to cocaine.  He is severely mentally disabled.  He is the sweetest kid I know, there is nothing pretencial about him, no malice, his innocence and honesty is wonderful.  My children have adopted him as a little brother although he is taller and older than most of them.  They are his protectors.  I catch them using the word 'retarded' in an offensive manner towards each other and I repremend them every time, but they NEVER have used the word on or to describe their friend and neighbor, its as if the word does not pertain to him.  He is just 'Jon, plain and simple!'.  If they learn nothing else in life, I know they have learned compassion and caring for their fellow man.  Now... if only I could teach them to get along with each other!

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  13. i loved this entry...i cant type much as my hands are really in bad shape today..but i had to let u know how much this entry meant to me...God Bless You Amy and Your Son!

    linda
    http://journals.aol.com/lindainspokane/LifewithLinny
    http://journals.aol.com/lindainspokane/LinnysLuciousLickings

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  14. Hi!  It's my first time visiting your journal.:)  The doctors told me they thought my son had Down's Syndrome when I was pregnant with him(he's 14 months now).  It shocked me at first, but I would love him no matter what.  When he was born, he was just fine, no Down's.  My mother was a teacher for special needs children.  I used to visit her alot while she taught and hung out with the kids.  I tell you what, if the people of the world had a 1/3 of the kindness and love that down's kids (or any other special needs kid) had, the world would be a better place.  I know they struggle with things in life at times, but they have the fullest hearts of anyone!

    Steph

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  15. This is a very moving entry Amy thank you for sharing this and hopefully making others aware

    http://journals.aol.com/derasta/ADayInTheLife/

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  16. I see your beautiful child and I hurt for him too.  You are a strong and wonderful mom also.  I often thought that myself.  I cared for children through Easter Seals for 2 years. I dealt with all kinds of handicaps.  I would also do a respet care and bring them home to be with my children at ages of 5 & 6.  As my children asked questions we would talk about the differences, today they see someone with difference and see something special.  They are there to help and befriend.  Too bad others cant see something special.  Innocence

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  17. its interesting because we just HAD this discussion this week due to a song that goes "lets get retarded in here" and I won't let any of the kids in my daycare sing that because I HATE that word used out of context. I have a mentally retarded cousin and I learned young not to use that. Now I try to pass it on to the kids.

    http://journals.aol.com/dababysback/ReadAllaboutit/

    shannon

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  18. I worked with children exactly like your son and they are the sweetest,most wonderful,most amazing children.  I remember when I was in the daycare center I volunteered at for highschool and a lot of the girls who had to do the same wouldn't go near the center because of the kids. They would make comments about them and I said to them one day,"You know what those kids are gold compared to you and you don't deserve to get to know them."  It's true then and it's true now.  People make that comment out of sheer ignorance and it's not right.  I always tell people I'd rather have spent 365 days with a child in that center then 1 day with a "normal" child because that "normal" child would kick me,pull my hair and yell dirty words at me.  It's all a matter of prespective and if people are that closed off and would use a word like that they are just cruel and emotionally stunted.  -Dawn-
    http://journals.aol.com/spunkyxmasangel/EverythingUndertheSun

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  19. Words can hurt.  Sometimes it's on purpose and sometimes on accident.  Unfortunately kids often aim them with very sharp tongues and too, sometimes adults.  But you always hope the adults would know better.  ~Sie

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  20. Well ... I say Alex is one lucky boy to have a Mom like you!
                              *** Coy ***

    http://journals.aol.com/coy1234787/Dancingintherain

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  21. You are so right.  People can be be thoughtless.  You are such a strong and wise person.  I really enjoy reading your journal! All the best to you and Alex! :-)

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  22. Amen! Well said. I am strict in our home about using terms that are hurtful to others. I have been lucky that my kids actually have listened about there language choices, it only took one time to explain to them how hurtful words can be. Now I hear them tell their friends, that words hurt, and they should think before they talk!
    Thank you for posting this! It needs to be out there, Words hurt sometimes worse then a physical punch, and take alot longer to heal.

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  23. I know this is an old post, but Amy, I'm 100% with you-- and on a crusade to make a difference.  :)  Maybe you'll check out my "pledge"-- it's a promise not to use the words "retard" or "retarded" to mean "stupid." Please pass it along... maybe we'll change the world!

    http://www.jennaglatzer.com/pledge_to_stop_the_word_retard.htm



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