Spread the Word
The R-Word. A word that packs quite a punch these days. A word that has the power to hurt and demean so many people. People that I love. One little girl, in particular. People that work so hard to be accepted. People with hearts bursting with love and acceptance for others. March 7th is the Special Olympics National Day of Awareness- Spread the Word to End the Word.
Even before Sophia was born, I hated the word. I felt like it made people sound unintelligent when they used such an effortless adjective in order to describe something they felt was worthless, stupid, or just an all around bad idea. I am not claiming that I never used the word in my entire life, but I do know if I did, it didn’t go unnoticed by me.
When Sophia was born, hearing the word took on a new meaning. They were insulting my perfect gift. My little girl that they didn’t have the opportunity to know the way I did. I convinced myself, that if everyone could just meet her, it would ultimately end the use of the word world-wide! Obviously, this was a dream I had swirling around, but it was one I believed in!
Today, I am amazed at the amount of professional people that use the word. Office staff, business people, and most regrettably, teachers. Over the years, I have heard A LOT of teachers use this word as a lazy adjective. I believe that a big part of this word’s usage is dying out with my generation. It was a word we grew up hearing on movies, and it was the insult your hurled at your sibling. To my delight, I have not heard the word used very much in today’s classrooms. I see this as a positive step for my daughter’s future.
The R-word hurts. It hurts my heart when you use it in my presence. Even if you don’t intend it to be a slam against my beautiful daughter, and all of her struggles, I am here to tell you it is a direct slam against her. My husband and I have had people apologize to us after using it. Realizing how hurtful it probably was to us after the fact. Those instances have brought tears to our eyes, because it is in those moments, where people admit they hurt you, and did something difficult to make it right. They owned up to it. That takes serious heart and guts!
On March 7, 2018 is the day of awareness to end the use of the R-word. Please join me by spreading the word, taking a pledge to stop using it, and educating others on the way it can degrade others. Check out these resources! Those of us living without an intellectual disability have the responsibility to advocate. Will you help me?