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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Changing the World

“A teacher effects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops” –Henry Adams

“I will let the facts speak for themselves” Demosthenes


These two quotes feel relevant to me just now.  There have been some things going on in my daughter’s school days that I found it necessary to address.  I tend to be pretty easy going about things, trying to see all sides and hanging back, letting Hillary meet the world on her own terms and the staff who work with her handle challenges that come up with the rest of the school.  I frequently think that she is here to teach more than she is to be taught, but we must work within the public school system and they (administrators & law makers) don’t get that poetic idea.  So when Hillary is mainstreamed into a general education class, I take a back seat and let things work themselves out, and for the most part it’s been good all these years.  This year, for the first time ever, I had to step in and protest.  I’ve protested things before, but never a situation like this.  The chorus teacher kept asking her aide to take her out of the class because she was making noise while they were singing.  She was participating to the best of her ability and enjoying the music and being with her peers.  I had no choice, I had to step in with an e-mail to her teachers and administrators of the school.  Multiple recipients brings the fastest action.  There was a prompt response and I think things are getting better.  I think I am most disappointed that this teacher, instead of using the situation to model acceptance to the rest of the students, chose to model intolerance for those who are different.  How unforgivable.  I believe that Hillary’s peers are the future teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, and policy makers, as well as caregivers and members of society.  If what they see as acceptable is intolerance and disrespect for differences there is not much chance things will change for the better.  Any one of us could suffer an accident or health emergency which leaves us with disabilities.  We need to know that those who will be caring for us and our loved ones have respect for and tolerance of our different abilities and disabilities.  Certainly I cannot force this man to embrace the chance to work with someone like my daughter, but he must obey the law which says she has a legal right to be there, and he must show her respect and sensitivity for her feelings as a fellow human being at the very least.  I may not be able to change the whole world, but I hope that I can help positive change happen in the future.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ha! New Year!

After a very nice but busy holiday season I started the New Year 2013 at a run.  Work, doctor appointments, and packing away Christmas all take up the scant time each day contains.  Add in a cold for my husband and I both, then throw in a problem with one of Hillary’s teachers, a tragedy in our town, and a major health problem for my supervisor, and it doesn’t feel as if much has changed with the new calendar.  There are always going to be “things to deal with” because that’s how life is.  Something is always happening to keep you off balance, keep you thinking, growing, solving problems.  At the end of last October we went to a birthday party for a friend.  As we were saying our good-byes at the end, the birthday party honoree thanked us for coming adding, “I really appreciate it, I know you have troubles.”  I know he meant it kindly, but it got me to thinking.  Is that how people see us, as having troubles because we have Hillary?  I just look at it as having a life to live.  Who among us doesn’t have something that could be seen as “troubles” by someone not experiencing the same thing?  I don’t know, it just struck me as something worth mentioning.  I guess it’s all in the attitude you have toward life in general whether you  have trouble in your life, or a life that challenges you.  My life is full, and my life challenges me—it is that which keeps me growing and moving forward, and I expect I will grow much and go far in this new year.  I hope you also meet your challenges with the expectation of growing and moving forward in 2013.