Back to school has arrived and many people have shared their adorable photos of their kids heading out to their first day. It is truly an exciting and nervous time for kids and moms. So many parents talk about this wonderful day with their kids and hear about who they played with or sat next to and how many new friends they made that day.
But what if your child didn’t?
What if your child came home completely heartbroken from the first day outcome?
What if your child is one who is seen as different or awkward to other children who simply do not understand?
This is certainly an experience of a dear friend and her son.
Yesterday, I read something completely heartbreaking on Facebook about my friend’s son. He is a child that battles with the hardship of life everyday with a smile. A child who is kind, tenderhearted, and truly an amazing and strong boy for someone who has been through what he has. He is a true survivor.
At birth he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus. He wears glasses because he is nearly blind and a leg brace, but these things don’t keep him down. He loves all of the usual boy stuff and he and my middle son are also close friends.
He left home on the first day of school like every other child. Excited and ready to make new friends. However the experience at school was much different. After asking many children to play with him on the playground and being repeatedly turned down he played alone. He came home saddened, disappointed, and heartbroken at his attempts to make friends but only be rejected. To hear pain and see tears and attempt to define something that is not understandable and internalized to a child with disabilities includes a message of hopelessness.
As moms and dads these are pure moments of helplessness. These are moments from a mother’s heart that leave us aching to fix what simply cannot be fixed. To hear and see sadness in your child is overwhelming. Imagining the heartbreak that they feel at such a small age is truly unbearable.
Kindness is missing in the teachings of children these days. It is our job as parents to relay these messages of compassion to our children. It is a life skill taught from the earliest moments. Children truly learn what they live and are impacted by some of the smallest acts of kindness that you as a parent display. Whether you help someone in need with a door, offer a smile to a random passerby, or a kind word to a stranger these are ways you teach kindness. Fostering compassion to your children and teaching them kindness to everyone will navigate an empathetic and positive approach.
As parents this is our responsibility. Teach them what they do not understand and instill in them the best character skills possible. Disabilities do not define who someone is and do not prevent some of the best friendships your child may ever have. Give them a heart of hearts from the beginning.
It costs nothing to be kind and friendships hold a greater value than anything imaginable.
How are you instilling or discussing compassion and empathy to your children?