Words DO Hurt

Today, I missed out on an opportunity to teach someone about the hurtfulness of the “R word”. I feel like I let down my son for not saying something when this person said it. I was nervous. I didn’t want to be seen as too sensitive. I didn’t want to make that person feel uncomfortable. Instead, I saw the pain in my husband’s eyes and sat silently in my own awkwardness. I hope one day to know exactly the words to say when someone uses that word around me and more importantly, around my children. I know eventually I will be more comfortable being an advocate. Right now, I just feel like I’ve failed to stick up for Eli.

Please, please, please don’t use the word retard or retarded. Erase them from your vocabulary. You don’t know who you could be hurting each time you say one of those words. This was not the first time someone said it right in front of us, in front of Eli. I explain it away by concluding that they must not see Eli for his disabilities. But that doesn’t matter. The words pierce my heart, and one day it might hurt his. Take the time and sign a pledge not to use hurtful language. Spread the word to end the word! Be kind. Be respectful. Be thoughtful. Please, do it for Eli. Do it for Cody. Do it for all God’s children.20130208-222055.jpg

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One comment on “Words DO Hurt

  1. Melanie-I know how much that word hurts,we grew up with it, especially high school where Raymond & I were together at the same time. We had to toughen up and speak up often as both of us were tormented by the other kids! Even the teachers then were ignorant and were of no help to us, we just had to deal as each situation arose, sometimes even got into physical fights defending Ray’s right to attend mainstream school .You want to know something? I quit school at 16 for many reasons however Raymond persevered and graduated-I was and am still so proud of his tenacity! You do have to speak up when the situation arises as it seems to be the only effective way to educate IGNORANT people-one person at a time. You have to for Eli as well as yourself-otherwise you end up feeling shame that you didn’t. I found some adults to actually be receptive when they were made aware of their (believe it or not!) insensitivity and actually welcomed what we had to say in defense of Raymond and all others with disabilities-imagine a retarded person having feelings just like us! Speak up-you’ll feel better! Love to all of you!

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