Kindess Changes Lives
“It is not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to create children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless”
-L. R. Knost
Today was a difficult day. I am sure most mothers like me constantly multitask, which makes staying calm incredibly difficult. Today it finally got to me that my daughter will start Kindergarten this fall. She has special needs.
Ishanvi is a joyful 5-year-old girl. She was diagnosed on the spectrum at the age of 3. We as her parents, a team of specialists and her educators work day and night to make everyday less stressful for her. My parenting journey with her started from being a battle every day to being one of the most enriching experiences of my life. But that doesn’t change the fact that going to full time school might pose as a huge challenge for kids like her.
I know raising a kid is tough, but raising a kid with special needs is tough and overwhelming sometimes everyday. I sat down and wondered what exactly is worrying me the most?
There were so many questions on my mind. I started to write them down on a piece of paper.
“What if she is not able to make friends? What if her classmates don’t give her a chance? What if they think she is weird? What if they don’t understand her? What if she is bullied because of how she is?”
I realised all my questions have a common core. I am simply concerned she won’t be met with kindness that she deserves.
I realized it is right for me to be concerned. It comes with the territory of being a mother after all. Then I began wondering what can I do to make it better for her, to ensure that her peers are kind to her. I came to the conclusion that it is my duty to reach out to people, mothers like me, to please let their kids know they will meet all kinds of friends at school or life in general:
- friends who may not look like them
- friends who may not be able to talk
- friends who may need help walking
- friends who may be shy
- friends who may talk a lot
I hope they sit with their kids and tell them no matter what type of friends they meet, they all are worth getting to know better. They are worth sharing things with. They are worth their love. The ones who seem the most difficult to be with, may be the ones who need their effort and love the most.
I spend a lot of time with parents like me who are blessed with a special needs child. I understand them- their struggles, their pain, their joy. As much as I love spending time with them and listen to their stories, I feel equally responsible to reach out to parents who are blessed with neuro-typical kids as well. A lot of times these parents are not aware of how to respond to parents like me. I am a strong advocate of inclusiveness and that we as a society can only flourish if we know each other’s pain and joy. How can I expect them to be kind to my daughter if they don’t know what challenges she was born with? How can anyone be truly empathetic without knowing what is the situation that demands for it in the first place?
Thus I request my community- the strong mothers, the overwhelmed mothers, the working mothers, the stay at home mothers, the special needs child mother, the teacher, the doctor, the coach, the hairdresser, to please advocate kindness to your kids and do the same yourself.
While doing that, also emphasize the value and requirement of KINDNESS. Because that way they will be smart enough to make kindness a CHOICE. A true lesson for them.
Our children are the future of this beautiful world and we need them to be kind. That way we know we are leaving them in a kinder world and that they will be safe even without us be it in school or life in general.
I am extremely grateful to be a part of this beautiful community where we look out for each other. Let’s just hope our kids do that to each other as well.
Meghali is a local mom of Ishanvi, 5 year old girl and Bivan, soon to be 2 year old. She is a former Business Development executive and is currently a stay-at-home mom. She is trying to raise awareness about special needs families and her goal is to break the stigma around the subject.