“What’s on her/your face?”, “Ohhhh, do you have the chicken pox?”, “Am I going to catch something from her?”, “Why isn’t she participating like the normal kids?”, “Well if you (fill in the blank – ate better, didn’t pick, slept more, were a pink elephant with yellow stripes and pooped rainbows) it would be better”, “What’s wrong with her?”
These are all things that we’ve heard, that Audrey has heard in the last 6 months, predominantly in the last 6 weeks. Well, almost all of them…nobody has said she needs to have yellow stripes….
The rest of them though, and a lot more, are questions that adults and children alike are asking.
The worst part, is she’s NOT the only kid out there hearing these questions. Any child who’s facing a health challenge, one that has visible symptoms or who’s behaviour is a reflection of said condition, has heard some variation of these before. It’s an abhorable, disgusting lack of respect and I’m bloody, freaking, SICK OF IT!
Let’s start with questions #1…
“What’s on her/your face?”
What do you think is on her face genius, Skittles? They’re sores. They’re uncomfortable, marks that cause her great discomfort and now thanks to you, she’s painfully aware that others see them too.
“Ohhh, do you have chicken pox?”
No, do you have idiot pox? Would she be in public if she were carrying a highly contagious infection? No her mother, unlike you has a brain. And a conscience. And a heart. Not chicken pox bud, nor are they scabies, mosquito bites or unicorn kisses.
Not that our 8 year old should have to answer or explain any of that, to you.
“Am I going to catch something from her?”
Unfortunately not. Unfortunately, her grace. Her poise. Her MANNERS are NOT contagious and you are stuck with your ill-mannered questions, and lack of compassion.
Maybe watch her for a few minutes and try to absorb some of the awesome that is floating out of this girl! It’s even MORE incredible than a pot of gold, covered in fairy dust, flying on the wings of a Pegasus pony.
“Why isn’t she participating like the normal kids?”
“Normal kids”? What the heck is a “normal kid”? Have you ever met kids? Where you ever a kid?
The last time I checked, kids are ALL abnormal. Look to your left, there’s one picking his nose and using whatever he found in there to draw Garfield faces on the park bench. Just behind him is one who’s hand is down his pants. Not sure what he’s fishing for in there, but apparently it’s hard to catch. To your right? A little girl blowing a head gasket because her Mom just sat on her “friend”. The invisible one who was, lounging at that picnic table, of course.
Get it, they’re weird. They’re quirky. They are anything but normal. Heck, most adults have missed the normal boat too. Take you for example…
“Well if you (fill in the blank – ate better, didn’t pick, slept more, were a pink elephant with yellow stripes and pooped rainbows) it would be better”
Really? You want to go there right now? You want to give condescending, generally Facebook sourced “information” (read: you read some article title, from some un-reputable, tabloid website, didn’t even bother to click it open and now think your Dr. FREAKING Oz?) to a little girl who’s struggling? As if you’re going to magically fix something that 8 teams of specialized doctors are working on?
What’s worse – blaming the parents of kids with diagnosed diseases, like cancer for making their child develop Leukemia because they let them eat Kraft Dinner, with a hot dog, one time while drinking juice?
Don’t think it happens? It does. Not always to their faces but again, you say it behind their back or share some dumb accusatory social media article trying to “help”.
I’m ALL for clean eating and avoiding chemicals and taking care of our bodies. But never once, not ever have I thought that a parent has “caused” their child’s illness because of poor food choices. Unless they are starving their kids, or chain smoking over them at night – this it NOT THEIR FAULT!
“What’s wrong with her?”
What’s wrong with her? What’s WRONG with her? What’s WRONG WITH YOU?
Who asks that question? I mean, I get it you care. In general with most of these questions you’re well meaning but are you kidding me. Are you abso-freakin’-lutely kidding me?
“What’s wrong with her?” implies that she’s damaged goods. That she’s undesirable. Broken.
There’s not something “wrong” with any sick or struggling kid. They’re facing a challenge.
In general, they’ve face more in their little time on earth than you’ve faced in your entire life. They’ve been poked and prodded by dozens of doctors. They’ve given what probably amounts to litres of blood. They’ve been scanned, examined, & biopsied.
They’ve endured more than you can imagine and thanks to you, they’re now feeling that pain all over again.
I realize I’ve come at this rather harshly. I’d apologize but in truth I’m not sorry.
I have held Audrey many, many nights as she cries tears of pain over questions just like these. We’re working on building her confidence to answer them with respect but firmness. She does not have to give out her information, nor does she have to accept them. She can explain it’s none of your business and should set her boundaries clear.
She’s learning to do that, but right now she’s 8. She’s too young to have to do that, so I’m going to do it for her.
If you’ve ever asked a child any one of these questions, even if you were well meaning, shame on you!
Would you EVER walk into a bank and ask the teller who has adult acne – “Ewwww what’s on your face?” Probably not. Unless you were angling to have your bank account mysteriously miss $500.
What about a biker? Would you ever ask him, “Am I going to catch something from you?” Not if you value the location of your nose on your face.
How about the elderly lady in the wheelchair – did you ask her, “What’s wrong with you?” Don’t answer that, we know you wouldn’t.
Do you get what I’m saying? You would never in a million years ask these questions of an adult because your manners tell you not to. That or you’re just smart enough to realize there are painful consequences waiting on the other side of them.
Saying them to child however, is completely acceptable. I mean they are tender little spirits, with feelings but they can handle it, right? They’re not entitled to your respect because they’re too short to ride the Tilt-A-Whirl? Their privacy is a non-issue because you want to know?!
Sounds pretty stupid right?
I thought so.
My friends, if you’ve ever asked these questions please know I don’t hate you for it. Some of them, have probably even come from a place of good intention, but they’re damaging & hurtful. They’re rude and you need to know, they need to stop.
If you love our kids enough to ask, then love them enough to respect them. To tell them they’re beautiful. To ask about the picture their clutching in their hand, rather than the marks on their cheeks. To hug them close when a child, too young to know better asks one of those questions – and then correct the child.
It’s not Ok for you to ask, and it’s NOT ok for your kid to ask either. They will, because kids are curious. This is where it’s your job to teach the better than you were taught. Educate them to empower them.
To those who are not my friends (eg. the people who seriously don’t see any problem in any of the above questions) shame on you. I want to preserve my witness, to shine Jesus to each of you, but know this, Jesus is saying SHAME on you too!
So, please, use your head & your heart and stop hurting my child – she’s already hurting enough.