Saturday, October 2, 2010

Teach Your Children Well

On the field this morning at Boo's soccer game. 
He's the one on the far right with the ball.

Maybe this is what we need, I thought, as I stood on the sidelines watching my son's soccer game this morning.  Programs like this one which pairs kids with disabilities - autism, Down Syndrome, everyone's a player - with older kids who volunteer as "buddies."

The buddies appear to be high school kids, adults, boys, girls - anyone who is compelled and compassionate enough to give up an hour of their Saturday to help a kid with a disability play soccer.  They're coaches, they're the players' biggest fans, applauding, cheering.

Maybe more programs like this are what we need, I thought.  It's only in getting to know a person as a individual that we begin to understand them, regardless of whether that person has a developmental or intellectual challenge, or if they are gay, or transgender, or a different race, or whatever seems so different and foreign in our worlds.

What if every kid who felt different or misunderstood - regardless of the reason - had a buddy, I wondered.  Just one person to support them unconditionally.  Maybe that would help in making a difference.

"No, no, no," I heard another parent say to their child, interrupting my thoughts. "Remember, boys give each other high-fives, not hugs."

Yes, this is a step in the right direction, I thought, watching the kids kick the soccer ball down a straight line. But there's still such a long way to go. 

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Stimey said...

My guy does a special needs hockey team with teenage mentors. It's incredible. The mentors are incredible. The players are incredible. The whole thing makes me ridiculously happy each and every week.

Becca said...

More buddies and less bullies...absolutely!

Niksmom said...

You know, that parent has it ALL wrong. Even in the big leagues, watch what happens when the team makes an incredible play or scores an winning point. THEY HUG, they embrace, they huddle together. Sometimes, they even cry.

I feel sorry for that parent and their child.

Anonymous said...

About a year ago Niksmom and I realized we were in the same state and she mentioned your blog. I just found that email as I was cleaning out my inbox and looked up your blog. I am thinking our children just might be on the same special needs soccer team! MOT? If so, small world!