“That’s not normal.” It’s such a common phrase, but when you really think about it, it’s hard not to ask a follow-up question — “What is normal?”
When it comes to people, we’re all unique. We have different strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and disabilities. So who can say one person is normal and another is not? Jackie Goldschneider has a brother named Eric with special needs, and when they were in school as children, he was taunted for being “different.”
While Jackie tries to raise her own kids to be the ones who would break up these scenes, to drive her point home, she told them about a specific, emotional story she remembered.
“One morning at school, some kids told Eric to take off his shoes, and then they flushed them down the toilet. They didn’t go down, just rumbled around in the toilet as the kids pumped the flusher, but they tried nonetheless. Eric spent the rest of the school day in socks. When I found out, I went into the girls’ bathroom, kneeled down in a stall, and cried so hard I couldn’t breathe. My heart was broken. I couldn’t understand how anyone could be that cruel or could set out to hurt someone so vulnerable.”
Jackie’s children love their uncle and couldn’t understand why people would ever do that to him.
She went on to tell her kids that it’s so important to be “better than nice” to those who are singled out. “Make sure you treat everyone kindly, at school and everywhere else. Never try to hurt anyone, because when you do, you hurt all the people who love them as well,” she wrote.
We spend so much time running errands, making sure our kids get their homework done, hitting deadlines at work, that we can forget one of the most important things on our to do lists — reminding our kids to treat others with kindness.
The old saying still stands; treat others how you want to be treated — no matter if they are “different” or “normal.”
Share this mom’s incredibly important message today — we can all stand to hear it again.