Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#5 Accepting Those who are Different

Help your family accept and appreciate people who are different.

                     1. Have five or six pieces of different colored paper. Choose your children’s favorites.
                     2. Bring enough blindfolds and earmuffs or earplugs for each person in your family. Collect enough mittens, gloves, socks, or something else you can put over a child’s hand for each child.
           3. Bowl and the suggested slips of paper on them
Spread out the colored papers so that everyone can see all of them.
                     • Which color do you think is the best?
                     • Which color do you think is the worst?
Explain that there is no color that is better or worse than the others. They are all just different. Variety in color helps make our world beautiful.
People come in varieties, too. Discuss with your family some of the ways the members of your own family are different from each other, such as the color of hair or eyes, age, size, or personality.
                     • In what other ways are people different? (Race, culture, mental or physical condition.)
Put the blindfolds on each child, and then ask him to perform some easy task such as getting a book from another room or getting a drink of water. Afterward, let the family members talk about how it felt to be unable to see what they were doing.
Sometimes relatively simple tasks are difficult to master for those with other kinds of problems. Put the mittens or gloves on your children’s hands, and ask them to tie their shoes or button their shirt. Ask them how it felt to find such an easy job so difficult to do and how they felt when they were finally able to do it.
Use the earmuffs or cotton earplugs to help your children realize how deaf people may feel. Give them a whispered command such as, “Walk across the room and touch the wall.” Say it without looking at them or moving your lips very much. If they don’t respond, repeat the command after first getting their attention and speak loudly with clear lip movements. Ask them what this has shown them about communicating with deaf people or people that have difficulty hearing.
Let your family pretend that you have all just arrived in your neighborhood from a country far away. Everything is different for you. Your skin is a different color from your neighbors. You are used to eating different food than you can get here. Everyone speaks a language you cannot understand.
To help your family understand what this would be like, read a short sentence or two in a foreign language, and ask them what you said. Don’t worry about your pronunciation as they won’t understand it anyway.
You may wish to use the following sentences:
We are happy to see you. Please stand up and tell us your name. Where do you live? You may sit down.
Wir freuen uns, Sie zu sehen. Bitte stehen Sie auf, und sagen Sie uns wie Sie heißen. Wo wohnen Sie? Setzen Sie sich bitte.
Nous sommes heureux de vous voir. Levez-vous, s’il vous plaît. Comment vous appelez-vous? D’où venez-vous? Asseyez-vous, s’il vous plaît.

Treating People Who Are Different with Love and Understanding
Now that you have had the opportunity to see some of the problems that face people who are different, discuss with your family how you can show love and understanding for these people. Most neighborhoods have in them people who are different. As a family, consider your own neighborhood and those in it who might need your love and understanding.
Remember that handicapped people usually wish to do as much for themselves as possible. They do not want attention drawn to their handicaps. Don’t single them out for special attention, but be friendly, helpful, and supportive.
Making Eddy Happy
Tommy lived with his parents at the student housing center while his father attended the university. Tommy liked to live there because he had so many little boys and girls to play with in the big sandpile and on the swings.
Eddy lived there, too, but he didn’t come out to play very often. He thought the children didn’t like him because they would point to him and say, “Why don’t you have two arms?”
One day, when Tommy’s mother came for him, she saw Eddy leave the sandpile and go home crying. Tommy’s mother called all the children together and told them about Eddy:
“When Eddy was born he was a beautiful baby just as all of you were. For some reason we don’t understand, he had only one arm. Now, do you think that matters to our Heavenly Father? He loves Eddy just as much as he loves each of you, and he wants Eddy to be happy too. You can help make Eddy happy by being kind to him, just as you should be kind to each other. Now that you know about his arm, you don’t need to talk to him about it anymore. When you are kind to Eddy, think of all those you make happy—Eddy, our Heavenly Father, Eddy’s mother and father, and you.”
Explain that people of other races or cultures also need acceptance. Even if language is a problem, a friendly greeting and exchange of names will show you care.
Hans Finds Some Friends
Hans had just moved to America from Germany. He didn’t understand the teacher and the children.
The first day at kindergarten, Hans was so unhappy that tears came to his eyes. When choosing time came, Hans just stood there. He felt so alone. The teacher took his hand and said something. Her voice was kind, but he didn’t know what she said. Then a little girl took his hand from the teacher’s. She gently led him over to the playhouse.
She pointed to herself and said, “Anna.” She pointed to him and said, “Hans.” She touched herself again and said, “Anna, mother.” She touched Hans and said, “Hans, father.”
Hans knew what she meant. He smiled. He pointed to her and said, “Anna, Mutter.” Then he pointed to himself and said “Hans, Vater.
They both laughed.
Anna picked up a baby doll and put it into Hans’s arms. “Baby,” she said.
Hans said, “Ja, baby!” Here was a word he knew. Her language wasn’t so different.
Anna touched the doll’s foot and said, “Foot.”
Hans said, “Fuss”; then he said, “Foot.”
Anna said, “Foot, Fuss.” And they laughed again.
Then other children joined them. One held up the doll’s shoe and said, “Shoe.”
Hans’s eyes sparkled. He said, “Ja, ja, Schuh!
And they all said, “Schuh, shoe.”
When time came to go to the circle, the children were so excited they could hardly wait to tell about their word game and about the German words Hans had taught them.
Hans was happy. He felt important. He had found some friends in America.
Let each family member think of some special person they could help in some way during the following week, perhaps by just watching to open the church door for someone in a wheelchair, or saying hello to a newcomer at school.
Remind each one to keep in mind what Jesus said about doing to others what you would have others do to you. Have each family member report at breakfast or dinner each day any experiences he has had with people who are different.
This one is close to my heart for a couple of reasons.  I have a niece who has Down’s Syndrome.  She is very special to me.  She is 16 years old.  It is her picture that is up above.  She has a very special spirit about her.  She has touched many lives.  My children just adore her.  She is full of personality.  My sister and brother-in-law have done a great job of raising her.  They have fought hard to have her integrated in the regular classroom among her peers.  She has had a one-on-one aide.  As a result she has been well accepted.  I think it is important for people with disabilities to be integrated with society, so that others have the opportunity to get to know them better and likewise.  There are some really wonderful and sweet, special people.  I also believe that as parents, it is our duty to teach our children how to accept those that are different from them. 

“Lesson Twenty-four: Understanding Those Who Are Different,” Family Home Evening Resource Book, (1997), .102

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