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"You're so brave!"

by David Wetherow

I was responding to an on-line conversation that was moving in the direction of being funny but hostile to people who made 'patronizing' or 'ignorant' remarks...

At the risk of being labeled a party-pooper (I know it's fun to fantasize about snapping back when someone makes a comment that seems to fly in the face of our experience), I keep thinking in terms of 'teachable moments', capturing tiny flickers of interest, hope and compassion, and remembering that a major priority for our kids is our role in inviting people into their lives...

Instead of replying to "You're so brave" with anger, we might say,

"You know, it always comes as a bit of a surprise, but you're right We've had to learn how to be more courageous and more open, and she's been a great role model for us. The fact is, sometimes this is all very tough, but we keep learning what we need to learn."

"I just couldn't do it".

"Actually, what you discover is that when you have a child with a disability, you're sort of pulled beyond yourself, and you find that you can do a great deal more than you ever imagined."

"You should try alfalfa sprouts/cranial osteopathy/subliminal Mozart (whatever is the latest trendy idea)I read an article that said it was amazing the doctors."

"Thanks for the idea. It means a lot to us that people are thinking about her, offering ideas, and sharing their hopefulness and their vision this way."

"You know, miracles do happen."

"Yes, I know you're right. One thing someone told me early on was that the miracle would happen when I began to accept her exactly the way she was... and it did!"

"Your family is such an inspiration"

"Well, she's taught us a lot about family, and love, and endurance, and faithfulness. It's kind of amazing when you discover that she's opening people's eyes and hearts. If there's any inspiration going on, we owe it to her."


2003 David and Faye Wetherow ! CommunityWorks

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