I hear story after story from ASD families of strangers approaching them to admonish the behaviour of their child or to criticise their parenting skills. I find this kind of behaviour baffling and unhelpful to say the least.
For me, it comes back to the ‘village’ issue. We are all connected as human beings. We all have our own stories, our own principles, our own experiences but we all understand and live the human experience – we have that in common. We should approach one another with that sense of connection and therefore respect. We can’t go wrong if we approach someone with an accepting and compassionate heart. And if all else fails think of the old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”
I want my boys to grow up in a world where differences are celebrated – differences of opinion, of religion, of race, of appearance, of functioning, of sexuality and of beliefs. As parents, if we desire this for our children then we have a responsibility to bring about change within ourselves as well. We all carry our own prejudices and deep seated judgements as a result of our upbringing and life experiences. It’s time to recognise and accept this in ourselves in order that we might teach our children a different way to live.
As a parent, I have had more people approach me to admonish my child or my parenting than I have ever had offers of help or words of consolation in trying moments with my kids in public. Isn’t that tragic? I really could just write and write on this subject but today (for a change!) I’m going to keep it to the point.
Let’s embrace a world where differences are celebrated. This is only possible if we recognise, accept and let go of our own prejudices. Of course we can still have our own standards and principles but at the same time we need to recognise that those of others might be different. Think what this kind of thinking and living will gift our children and the generations to follow. We can each make a difference on a daily basis. “Be the change you want to see in the world” (Mahatma Ghandi).