While traveling a bit more slowly than usual yesterday on an ice-covered highway near a major city, I was struck by the following message on a holiday billboard. It read:
Give Thanks for All Your Healthy Children!
The wording got me thinking (again) about how many people believe that having a child with any kind of health challenge or disability is a fate worse than death (it’s not), and how often our media messages help support this kind of limited thinking.
My first reaction was to stop the car, get out, climb up the billboard and X out the word healthy, making the message read:
Give Thanks for All Your Children!
Though tempted, I didn’t go that far in my advocacy (except in my mind), but you get my drift. Fortunately, my level-headed husband was behind the wheel and he’s a stickler about safety on the road. That includes not stopping in response to my highway whims at a moment’s notice!
Plus, we were on our way to a wedding and I was sporting four-inch heels!
If you are blessed with healthy children, you should give kudos to the universe, and to God, for these gifts. But we should also remember that all children are valuable and worthy of our thanksgiving, including millions of children challenged by health issues and a wide range of special needs. Our public messages can and should better reflect more inclusive content.
Healthy or not, they are all our children.
I, for one, am thankful for each and every one of them.
And for flat, comfy shoes….
Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs: Raising the Bar of Expectations