This is the question a young boy asked S the other day while we waited in the hospital lab for a blood draw. Kids will often ask, and S doesn’t have an issue answering their questions. We have always talked about the importance of children learning because it is part of the acceptance of others. Even when he was younger, we encouraged S to answer the questions himself.
S responded by telling this boy, “I have CP.” (I whispered that the boy probably didn’t know what CP was.)
“I have Cerebral Palsy. It means my legs don’t work like your legs do.”
“You don’t have any legs?” (S was sitting in his wheelchair in a pair of shorts with both legs visible.)
“I have both of my legs. They just aren’t very strong like your legs are.”
I asked the boy if he liked to run. He told me he runs very fast. I told him that S has a hard time running, but he uses crutches to walk.
“Oh, ok. I have bug bites. They itch a lot, but they are going to go away.” And with that, the conversation was over because he needed to get a drink from the water fountain.
If only adults were as upfront, honest, and accepting as kids are. We could learn so much from them.
I do have to give a shout out to the parents of this child. During this whole exchange, the parents never came over to shush their child or shoo him away from the teenage boy in the wheelchair. They let it play out. Good for you mom and dad!
I think this happy exchange calls for some time on the couch with chocolate!