Thursday, December 3, 2009


This morning, my husband and I started talking about that little boy in Florida who was voted "out" by his classmates and what on Earth the adult in that situation was thinking. When did it become okay to use democracy to exclude individual?

We have to think about the messages we send to our children.

In the case of the little boy, even if the message the teacher was sending on that particular day wasn't intended to hurt the little boys feeling or make him feel excluded, it did. She should have known better. The message she was sending to his typical developing peers is that it's okay to get rid of somebody you don't like just as long as you have a majority of people who will back you up which is teaching them what?

Lynching is okay?

Hold your applause, please.

What about the messages we send to our children in social settings. Social settings that have people of all abilities and labels. Remember the "little down chorus girl" who was laughed at during a concert because she was singing off key? (When did children become their disability label.

What kind of message was being directed to the younger audience participants. It's okay to laugh at people who sing off key even if she thinks she's singing on key? It's okay to laugh at people who are trying to fit in?

Several times during graduation commencements over the years, I observed how people start clapping for the most ridiculous things. Applauding at what is considered an embarrassing moment for most people. For example, there were chuckles, giggle, and clapping when the wheelchair lift began working after a short delay in getting the graduating recipient to his position with his classmates.

How about clapping for a visually impaired person who was guided back in the right direction after going off in another direction that would have sent her tumbling down.

Huh? Would you clap for your son or daughter after she tripped a little going up the steps to receive her diploma?

It's one thing when a soccer competitor takes out our kid on the field and we clap when they get up, but I don't see the point of clapping for a kid just because the stupid wheelchair lift wasn't working or for somebody who is steered in the wrong direction.

And I don't think laughing at a child who sticks out a little is comedy.
So please hold your applause or laughter for when your own kid does something brilliant or funny.


Maddy said...

I suspect that a certain percentage of the laughter is embarrassment. I certainly know a couple of people or more who all too frequently blurt out the wrong response.
Best wishes

Elisabeth's Mom said...

I expect adults to exercise reserve instead of laughter and compassion instead of embarrassment when any child blurts out the "wrong" response anywhere.