“Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts. It’s what you do with what you have left.” –-Hubert Humphrey
John and I went bowling with Taylor and my parents tonight. T is the undisputed Wii bowling champion around here, but I’d never seen her hold a six-pound ball and roll it at real-life pins. I’m not too shy to say here that she tied me tonight, fair and square. I led her for most of the night, but she drew even with a strike – a strike! in the 10th frame. Between turns, she chattered about two different excursions to the mall last night and today on a quest for a pink skirt at Justice. At one point, she described how a woman at the mall stumbled and fell, at which another shopper burst out laughing. On the side, my mom explained that the woman who fell was handicapped, and that though T had no way of knowing that, my mom had looked on incredulously at the woman who laughed at her. Compassion, it seems, is not a universal trait.
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: “When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?” The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued, “I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.” Then, he told the following story: