Posted on Jan 17, 2015 in News
In a previous position, I provided therapeutic services to students in a school-based setting, with most of my time during the week spent in an elementary school. I’m always fascinated by the curiosity of these children, because they have such a limited frame of reference on which to base any prejudice or judgment.
The location of my office just happened to be right outside the “suspension” space where kids spend their days after participating in devious behaviors, such as pulling the fire alarm (yes, it happened often while at the school). During one of these occasions, a student came into contact with a school volunteer who has cerebral palsy. The student started asking this volunteer questions of all sorts, such as “How come you’re in a wheel chair” and “Why can’t you walk?” While I inwardly cringed at the insensitivity of the student’s questions, the volunteer responded in such a kind way that I was humbled at my own lack of understanding about the situation.
Rather than ignore the student’s questions or snap back in defense, this gentle, caring volunteer was able to get the source of the student’s question with patience and temperance: the volunteer was different than the student and the student did not understand. Once the his curiosity was satiated, the student went back to the penance he was completing for whatever offending adventure he had undertaken. Oh that I could have that kind of patience and temperance with those who are different than me!