“This restores my faith in humanity,” the Facebook status reads, attached to a link.
I click over because I’m a sucker for that type of description and everyone can use a little good news.
But then I read the story.
And it’s sweet. But…
I’ve heard this storyline before.
Child is kind to another child who happens to have special needs.
We aren’t talking saved the life of the other child, knocking him out of the way of a speeding bus. Not defending him from a bully or giving up a prized possession. It’s not doing anything out of the ordinary.
We’re talking occasionally sits next to this child at lunch, refers to him as “my friend,” and generally treats this child like any other child in the classroom.
I have a child on the spectrum. I know that often my son’s differences can stick out and cause other kids to treat him differently. That it’s harder for him to make friends. My heart does melt when I see other kids treating him like he’s just another classmate instead of “that weird kid who does strange stuff sometimes.”
That does restore my faith in humanity, kids being more inclusive to their peers who are different from them. I hate hearing stories of kids being picked on, whether they have special needs or not. I want my kids to be kind to others and it gives me the warm fuzzies when my kids or other kids are being kind.
But is it really that rare that we have to write about it, get it on the news, have it shared thousands of times on Facebook?
Your kid was nice to another human being. Congratulations, he’s not a jerk.
One of my other boys is introverted and often prefers the company of books(or Minecraft) to people. I wouldn’t gush over some classmate of his going out of their way to include him.
My third son is outgoing and everyone seems to clamor to be his friend. I don’t headpat the kids who want to share their snacks with him at recess. No one would feel like their child was doing anything extraordinary by being kind to him.
Yes, kids with special needs are different.
But, can’t we get to the point where we teach our kids to be kind to everyone? To not make it seem like they’re doing charity by talking to a child with special needs?
Unless what your child is doing would still be newsworthy even if you described the other child as just a child and not a child with special needs, it’s not being a hero, it’s being a decent human being.