As some of you know, I have a nephew who has autism. His name is Patrick. During a recent school assembly I mentioned Patrick; and how he would never grow up to do certain things that other students are able to do.
A sister of a student with special needs who was in the audience was upset by my comment about Patrick. Although we had a great time at the assembly, and the school loved it; I was affected that my words hit one person the wrong way.
I think we’ve become a society that’s so focused on making sure that everything is politically correct. Personally, I would never, ever, ever, intentionally try to offend someone, hurt someone, or say something that could be taken the wrong way.
I take great pride and responsibility having the opportunity to reach people by the words that I say through my work as a a youth speaker for schools, and in my work with the Jeff Yalden Showand my lectures at public schools as a youth motivational speaker.
It made me think of a memory I had of being with Patrick at Disney world. When I was walking with him and he was talking to people (as he often does since he loves to talk to people,) I got this feeling that I was ‘putting someone out’ because my nephew has autism. I didn’t like the way that I was thinking.
I’m kind of afraid to admit this, but I was being slightly embarrassed because of my nephew. I’m sorry. Parents that have children with special needs–you may know what I’m talking about.
You reach this point in maturity and growth where you know that your child deserves every right and every opportunity that every other child deserves.
Here is my question for you:
Why do we as a society point out the negatives instead of pointing out the positives? It’s interesting. Think about it – you go through your life so quick to judge and point out negative things that other people might do or the negative things that happen around you.
We don’t even point out the positives that we see. For example, when someone makes a nice gesture like opening the car door–we don’t stop and say, “Thank you, that’s very nice of you.”
If I see a child hold the door, I try making a point to say, “Good job sir thank you very much, let me hold the door for you.” These teachable moments come from the positive. The negative can be teachable; but it’s less effective.
I’m asking you to praise the positive in life.
Often times we focus on the negative because it makes us feel better. Focus on the positive–and your heart is going to feel appreciative.
Make a conscious effort every day to seek the positive.
Focusing on the positive means waking up every day and making a conscious effort that you’re going to look for the good in people and the good in situations. It’s about devoting energy to the good in your day instead of the negative.
It’s waking up every day saying, “Yeah it’s rainy and cloudy but the only way to get to a rainbow is to deal with the rain and the clouds right now.”
It’s not about going to school expecting that someone might say something or do something or make you feel a certain way. Don’t think that way–it’s about the objective. Go to school; be positive; be respectful– and you’re going to be uplifting. People will want to be around you.
All this came as result of my nephew with special needs and my boy Joshua who is developmentally delayed. Why am I embarrassed because me and my nephew or Joshua might have a “moment” where we’re taking up some of your space? Every child deserves the same respect.
Make an effort today.
I myself am going to make a conscious effort today. I’m never going to worry that Patrick or Joshua may be “interrupting a moment” in your day. Instead, I’m gonna be proud that I’m with them.
I’m going to make a conscious effort to always be positive and non-judgmental, because within your four walls I don’t know what’s going on. And within my four walls; you don’t know what’s going on.
Together, let’s make a conscious effort every day to be positive–it’s really the only thing that we have control over, isn’t it?