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~ Kathy M.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Love, Acceptance and Diversity"



 "Kris Kristofferson ~ Jesus Was a Capricorn"

On Thursday, students of Olympia High School in Olympia, Washington gathered outside in the rain along with community members to help spread the message of love, acceptance and diversity.  Across the street, members of the Westboro Baptist Church were holding another one of their stupid protests.  (If you are not familiar with the Westboro people, they are the ones who protest at our soldiers' funerals; a nasty group who do not seem to be doing much to spread the love of God, in my opinion).  When you are through with this post, you can "CLICK HERE" to read more about the event.

My friend Lisa (my step-daughter Shanna's BFF) posted the following reflection piece on Facebook later that day regarding the school event.  Speaking from a mother's heart and point-of-view, it is heartbreaking to think of what her sweet boy is experiencing everyday by simply attending school. When I asked her if I could share it on my blog, Lisa graciously said yes.  Please feel free to share it with your children, as a reminder on what it feels like to be on the receiving end.  Brady and kids like him (or kids who are experiencing being bullied period) are doing their best.  When we are insensitive, mean or bullying, we are not doing our best.  

Lisa wrote:
 
"I am struggling with showing grace and forgiveness. Brady has been hurt by so many, many who attended Oly's rally today. I feel angry.  Love? Acceptance? I'll be interested to hear how my son was treated today, by some of those very kids. 

My guess is that "diversity" and "acceptance" doesn't transfer to the kid that "high-fives" everyone so annoyingly everyday, or rudely interrupts conversations everyday because he just wants to be your friend and doesn't understand how. Brady has Autism, it is labeled a disability for a reason. His brain does not process things in the same way. This causes him to have an extremely difficult time with communicating and relationships. 

What does process things the same way is his heart. "Turning your back" on Brady and others like him is not showing "love" and "acceptance." Mocking his naiveveness for your personal entertainment does not go unfelt. 

Don't be fooled by Brady's beautiful smile. He puts that on everyday because he says, "people don't like negative people, you told me that, mom, I pretend to be happy so that people will like me." Brady wishes he was dead. That smiling boy you turn your back on everyday, wishes he was dead. "No one is mean in heaven, mom."  

Please, Oly students, remember how much power you each have in your words and actions. How many Brady's do you turn your backs on everyday? Live up to what you presented yourselves to be today. And if you find this to be uncomfortable to read and embarrassing to your school, you just experienced a very small dose of what my son and many other kids experience everyday."

It is true, we all have somebody that we can look down on, like the "Jesus Was a Capricorn" song points out.  It is also true that being cruel and unkind is a choice.  Today, choose to fill your heart with love and kindness ... peace on earth truly begins with individuals; with you and with me.  And, please join me in lifting up Brady, Lisa and their family in prayer.

Thank you so much,

Kathy M. 
 
From Lisa on Sunday, June 10, 2012:
"Below is a response I posted that answers some of your questions. We had actually made the choice, prior to my post, to transfer Brady to a Christian high school. He will start there in the new year.  

Thank you, again, for all the lovely, heartfelt comments." 
~ Lisa
 
"Completely overwhelmed by the 100's of messages of support and love, by the time I finish it may hit 1000. Still can't figure out how to respond. I do want to clarify, that the OVERWHELMING amount of students at Oly are INCREDIBLE to Brady, and we thank all of them. My post wasn't just in regard to Brady, and it wasn't to blame anyone for Brady's current mental state. Autism has a lot of gifts, but also, a lot of painful dysfunctions. Please don't mistake my post for blame. It was to give my son a voice that he doesn't have. And it was to show you what depression can look like. He is not the only one walking through the hall, painting on a smile. Please be kind, please reach out, please be aware. But please, don't seek out those that have been hurtful to hurt them back. It makes us no better. Instead, make a difference in your own actions, set an example, educate and show grace. And I am speaking to myself, as well."

Those are wise words, Lisa and I needed the reminder for myself as well.  A few bad apples can spoil the whole bunch, at least in reputation.  I am glad that you pointed out that there are so many others at Oly who are kind and supportive to Brady, including our own grandsons.  We all wish Brady much happiness at his new school next fall.  Thank you for beginning this important discussion and sharing it with us all in such public forums ... on Facebook and on here.  ~ Kathy M.



At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kathy, thank you for sharing this. Brings tears to my eyes evertime I read Lisa's post.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to sign my name..... I wrote the above post. Shanna

Kathy A. Johnson said...

It's so sad that there is so much hate in the world. Or even ignorance and fear, which can make people act in hateful ways. My heart goes out to Lisa and her son, and everyone else who is experiencing non-acceptance.

Kim, USA said...

I do not know what happen to many people now. I feel that they are off or in another world or they lose there ground somewhere they choose to be MEAN and hurt people intentionally. We live in a very slippery and dangerous world, I fear for the kids, my nieces and nephew people are just so hateful. One thing that I know of we should know how to defend our self.
Thanks for sharing Kathy and happy weekend!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Thank you, Shanna. It breaks my heart too, every time that I read it.

Kathy J. - I like how you explained it too. Thank you.

Kim - thank you. I get scared too for everybody, and for those who are defenseless. Learning and teaching pro-active tools is an excellent idea.

Anonymous said...

So true......

Rob From Amersfoort said...

Great message! It's heartbreaking to think about these things but unfortunately there always will be people drawn to the dark side. Raising kids with good values is an important factor to avoid this. Talking about raising children; I once watched an astonishing documentary by Louis Theroux about the Westboro Church families, about how they indoctrinate their kids. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Kathy,

Thank you so much for sharing my post. I hope it opens hearts to one another. Thank you, also, to all that commented. We are feeling the love!

Lisa

Arkansas Patti said...

Somehow it has become cool to be mean. This really has to stop.
I am so sorry to hear the Westboro group is still functioning. I haven't heard from them in a while which I thought was wonderful. Sad to hear they are still in business.

Stampmouse said...

What a lovely but sad post. It doesnt seem fair that someone so young is so sad because of some hateful people. He is so brave Hugs

KathyB. said...

To think he believes being dead would be better. This breaks my heart.Is there any way for him to be removed form such a situation? A different educational venue? It sounds like his life may depend on this. How heart-breaking for his parents.

Those I know who speak of "diversity" are usually only talking about their brand of politically correct diversity, the kind that makes them socially cool or rebellion that is socially acceptable.Unfortunately, it seems their cause is not for those who would be different in other ways, such as Brady.All the more sad.It sounds like Brady has loving people to help him remember he is loved just the way he is, for who he is.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Rob - You are so right, but it is sad that those who are raised right bear the brunt of those drawn to the dark side. Also, that church is awful. I suppose they need to grow their own members to keep going.

Lisa, you are so welcome. I am glad that you wrote what you did and shared it. As you mentioned before, the "rawness" of it makes us pay attention and become more aware. Glad you can feel the prayers and good thoughts directed your way!

Patti - yes, it sure does need to stop. I wonder if that church sets up camps around the states because they sure seem to be in Oregon and Washington a lot.

Stampmouse - thank you. I bet Brady can feel your hugs!

Kathy B. - Thank you for your insights. I don't know, Lisa can address that part if she wants too ... but that school has a history of not addressing the bullying that occurs over there. Somebody that I love very much was severely effected by it, and transferred out after nothing was done to help. And to learn about Brady's situation, along with his disability and extra vulnerability, further angers me. The administration needs to deal with the problem and not tolerate bullying at all. I understand what you are saying about that sort of "diversity" also. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Below is a response I posted that answers some of your questions. We had actually made the choice, prior to my post, to transfer Brady to a Christian high school. He will start there in the new year.

Thank you, again, for all the lovely, heartfelt comments.

Lisa


Completely overwhelmed by the 100's of messages of support and love, by the time I finish it may hit 1000. Still can't figure out how to respond. I do want to clarify, that the OVERWHELMING amount of students at Oly are INCREDIBLE to Brady, and we thank all of them. My post wasn't just in regard to Brady, and it wasn't to blame anyone for Brady's current mental state. Autism has a lot of gifts, but also, a lot of painful dysfunctions. Please don't mistake my post for blame. It was to give my son a voice that he doesn't have. And it was to show you what depression can look like. He is not the only one walking through the hall, painting on a smile. Please be kind, please reach out, please be aware. But please, don't seek out those that have been hurtful to hurt them back. It makes us no better. Instead, make a difference in your own actions, set an example, educate and show grace. And I am speaking to myself, as well.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Thank you, Lisa. I will add this to the body of the post.

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