Difference and Us


In one of the prvious posts i mentioned that I went to a Autistic School. That trip reminded me of this story which i posted very long back.  The story is below.

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves l! earning disabled
children,the father of one of the students delivered a speech that
 would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the
school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: 
 ”When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature
does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things
as other children do.
He cannot understand things as other children do. 
Where is the natural order of things in my son?”
The audience was stilled by the query.
 The father continued. “I believe,that when a child like Shay, 
physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an
 opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it
 comes, in the way other people treat that child.”Then he told the 

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew

 were playing baseball. Shay asked,”Do you think they’ll let me
play?” Shay’s father knew that most of the boys would not want
 someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that

if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed
sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in
spite of his handicaps.
Shay’s father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if
Shay could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for

guidance and said, “We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the
 eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put
him in to bat in the ninth inning.”
 Shay struggled over to the team’s bench put on a team shirt ! with a
 broad smile and his Father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in
his heart. The boys saw the father’s joy at his son being accepted. 

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs
 but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay
 put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits 
came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and
 on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him
 from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team 
scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential

winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
 At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to 

win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew
! that a hit was all but impossible ’cause Shay didn’t even know how
to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing
the other team putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life,

moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at
least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung
clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to
toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung 
at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.
The game would now be over, but the pitcher picked up the soft
grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.

Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the
Instead, t! he pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first

baseman, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands
and both teams started yelling, “Shay, run to first! Run to first!”
Never in his life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first
base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. 
 Everyone yelled, “Run to second, run to second!”
 Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and

struggling to make it to second base. By the time Shay rounded
towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest
guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for
the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman

for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions and he too
intentionally threw the ball high and far! over the third-baseman’s
head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of 

him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, “Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay” Shay
reached third base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and 
turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, “Run to
third! Shay, run to third” As Shay rounded third, the boys from both

teams and those watching were on their feet were screaming, “Shay, 
run home! Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as

the hero who hit the “grand slam” and won the game for his team.

That day, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his 
face, the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and

humanity into this world. Shay didn’t make it to another summer and
died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making 
his Father so happy and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully
embrace her little hero of the day!

Following this trip, i was thinking over many things. Around this time I also got to watch two videos for a module that I was taking. The first video was about a boy who has down syndrome. This boy was put into a mainstream school by his parents. He can be violent and distruptive. But these children, his classmates really were very patient. They helped him along even thuough he tend to beat them up at times. These kids talked with so much of maturaity that I was stunned for a moment. We as adults, may not have that kind of maturaity to handle a down syndrom boy and show him love and care and tolerate with his unpredictable charcater. There is a saying that children are the form of God. I am sure God would love and loves everyone equally. So do these students. Of course, the teacher plays a large part in the way the kids think and act. She was a good role model who never gave up on the boy. I wonder whether I will have the same kind of peserverence and patience. Like i mentioned in the last last post, these teachers teach with a passion that just makes me feel astonished and amazed. At the same time, a bit scared and uncertain.

The second video was a interview with a Singapore Teacher who has a student with ASD. She is one teacher who really brings out the meaning of a teacher. What is the real reason for a person to be a teacher. Now a teachers job is to impart knowledge to the young people. But we are the people who impart character development also. We must teach them to be kind, loving, feel the pride of being a citizen of this country and how to behave with someone who is different from us. Imparting knowledge comes second. It is very very true. But how many of us spent time on character development. Many of us are rushing to finish the syllabus. Maybe we should take a break and think the reason for us wanting to be a teacher. Is it the pay? Is it the working hours? is it the satisfaction we would get out of the job? Whatever the reason is, it should have a firing passion as part of it. For me it is my passion for my language that made me become a teacher. I wanted to teach the students how to love and like Tamil Language. I did not think much about character development. we, teachers should spent time on character development too. Teach the kids what cant be taught through subjects.

One question to all out there. How many of you have seen a special kid and did not try to keep your distance as far as away from that kid? How many of you have given this certain look because this kid is different from us? How many of us have the patience to bear with the noise a kid with a distrubtive behaviour would make? We feel pity and sadness when we see a child labour, a abused child or a child who have suffered in poverty. How come we dont feel the need to help kids who are different from us? Arent they also human beings? Dont they also need love, kindness and care? These questions are not for you all only, I myself have felt this way.

The main reason for this kind of behaviour of us, is because we dont understand these special souls. We do not know how to behave around these kids. We donnoe the DOs and DONTs. We feel scared and unsure. These makes us keep our distance as far as possible for these special souls. I found this out when I went to the autistic school. Teach ourselves and our kids to love people who are different from us. 🙂


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