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Tell me the difference again…


Image is everything. Well, somewhere along the way, this is what we were told. This is what we embody. Our beliefs. How we present ourselves represents our entire story of who we are, what we are about, and maybe even some character elements. Even I have found myself being image-conscious when facing you world changers.

Why???

Because I don’t want to be perceived as out of sorts, or different…Isn’t that awful…I don’t want to be perceived as different.

While we struggle with the perception of different, we somehow also advocate to be recognized as different. And within those differences, we want the world to acknowledge how our unique differences sets us apart. This is simply, nothing short of the biggest oxymoron when considering not only our personal perception of self, but how we in return perceive others.

In fact, we can take a horrific scenario that occurred while refocusing it on another who may have a fragment of similarity because we don’t want to face the same feeling. We can take those same applications, placing it on a happy situation, finding someone who is minutely similar and confer that the feeling associated is safe.

There are no real rules in our perception of difference, yet, we make it a point to gravitate to individuals with similar thought, idea, representation, and commonalities that adhere to our personal comfort level. In most cases, when different thought, attitude, or perception are presented, we challenge that frame of mind as different, polarizing what we do not understand. If we cannot conceptualize difference, or make it ‘make sense’ than it becomes a threat, or a challenge, or a problem, or something that needs to be conformed or changed.

Crazy right.

We want to be different, conceptualized as different, understood for our difference, yet, we don’t want the world to perceive us as different.

So when it comes to the world of special education, we are now able to label their difference that requires a change. Now, don’t get me wrong. In some cases, behaviors, attitudes and dispositions require change to maximize potential. Yet, on the other hand, when considering their differences, we somehow make what we know and understand about their differences a taboo subject. It is a problem that requires maintenance. It requires normalization. It requires placing someone who perceives the world as differently as different. It almost becomes an us versus them.

How close can we get this population to reduce their difference placing their thought process more like ours? How can we make their differences less obvious?

Again, we are the same people who want to be recognized for being unique and different in our own way. We are the same people that celebrate difference. Or, are we simply celebrating differences we understand, while ostracizing those we do not understand? We cannot be complicit with one, while embracing the other. Or can we? Or do we?

Tell me how many times you have noticed someone as different while negotiating in your mind that you are happy that is not you? Or that it is not as bad as…

World changers, bear in mind, these are the pragmatic lessons we are teaching our sugars. It’s okay to be different until we become critically different from those who are acceptably different. Or, we create avenues to hide our own personal differences at the expense of who we truly are. Or, we hide our sugars difference believing they can or will independently remediate without any support, making them in return insecure about what sets them apart. In essence, we send the message that normalized difference is acceptable while diagnosed difference is an issue.

We have to challenge our thinking world changers. We have to challenge what we accept as real, and true, and valuable, and beneficial to ourselves and those around us. We have to be comfortable with these processes in order to truly get at the surface, making true genuine change.

So, I ask you world changers:

-Are you truly striving to be uniquely different or comfortably different?

-Are your ideas shaped to conform to the world’s standard are normal?

-Do I accept differences in myself and my child? (If there are any)

-Am I willing to ignore signs of difference that requires additional support?

-Am I complicit in the world’s definition, or am I willing to shape my own ideas that are beneficial to my families needs?

As you ask yourself these questions World Changers, don’t be surprised if some stones have to be unturned. When I went through this process, many were turned and rolled away. In fact, if I did not go through this process, I would not be here in community with you all today. So, when I say I am cheerleading for you in the corner, it is because I am truly jumping around with pom poms in hand saying, “you got this!” You have the power to define and celebrate difference. You have the power not to hide from your child’s deficits and differences. And you certainly have the power to reshape your humanity without fearing accusations of walking in your personal differences.

At the end of the day, everyone will shape their opinion around the character and the heart of the man, not what sets him or her apart. So I charge you to be uniquely you. Accept your sugar for their uniqueness. And never allow another person to make what is different about anyone in your household to be perceived as a negative.

Until the next time, Take Care, C

Tag line: World Changers…Are we sending the message that normalized difference is acceptable while diagnosed difference is an issue?

It’s okay to be different until we become critically different from those who are acceptably different.


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