Every day we read about good people planning charity events for people with disabilities.
I’m not sure how I feel about this.
Wait! You are wondering how I can be an advocate for people with disabilities and not just jump up and down when two caring people are trying to raise funds for people with disabilities?
Let’s just say, “It’s complicated.”
My first fundraiser was when Tommy was an infant, Aaron was 20 months old and still not sleeping through the night. Two hours a day, I would drive them across town to Stepping Stones Center for the Handicapped. Perfect time for me to volunteer to lead the fundraiser, eh?
What pushed me into action was there were about 30 babies in the Stepping Stones program and no teacher. Sure there were amazing volunteers. But these children, who needed so much help, did not have a qualified teacher. I found that unacceptable. I could sleep in a couple years.
The local shopping center was having their annual charity craft show. At the organizational meeting, I gave my impassioned speech, we were chosen the “designated charity” and then for the next month all the parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors of the “Tiny Tots Program” spent our free time making items for our booth. We raised about $3,000 which was then matched by the organization and an official “teacher” was hired.
After that there were the fundraisers for The Mother’s of Special Children and the Arc (formerly known as the Association for Retarded Children), and TASH (formerly known as The Association for People with Severe Handicaps) and on and on.
I met other mothers (mostly) and we had many good times, but I started asking why we had to have charity drives to fund important services other children in the community took for granted.
Regular Inclusive Fundraisers
After our court case and Aaron was finally allowed to go to public school, I got involved in the regular school PTO fundraisers. There were spaghetti dinners, White Elephant sales, Dances, Raffles, Magic Shows, Motorcycle Rides, Bake Sales, Races for… and saving boxtops, cans… It goes on and on.
I learned about inclusion (click here) and realized we didn’t need a “special track team” we only needed an extra support person to help Aaron to participate in the track team events.
“Disability World” Fundraisers
This led to more committees, grant writing, working for levy’s for the County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities as well as the regular local school district.
Other parents got to have jobs and earn money to help their families. I got to be the only non-paid person at numerous committee meetings.
Now, we did some great things that wouldn’t have happened without the volunteer parents. We began an after-school club and a summer school program so our children would have something to do and not lose all the skills they gained during the school year. We started four non-profit groups and incorporated. Yes, indeedy, sleep would have to wait.
But it never ends.
It is my feeling many of these organizations spend their energy insuring their own jobs and pay and giving lip service to the support of people they are supposed to be serving.
Autism Speaks, March of Dimes… are currently under fire because one of their main reasons for existence is to raise money to wipe out people with autism and developmental disabilities. They want a cure and spend much of their funds on sending Medical Doctors to conferences and conducting research.
But what about the people who are here now? These professionals, who make good salaries, have their way paid to conferences. Parents, who volunteer, not only pay our own way–we are supposed to donate to send the doctors? Plus, their executive directors make big big bucks. When I learned what some of the executives of these charities were making–that was it.
When it is all about charity, then it is all about the person who is giving the money. When it is about a person’s life and rights, it is about the person with the disabilities.
There are some large organizations who understand this, but most don’t. Here’s a post on my experience outside my grocery store (click here).
Everyone wants to help babies and young children
I know Aaron’s life was more interesting because of my leadership and volunteer work. But now he is an adult, and there are even fewer opportunities. Babies are cute and helpless and of course we want to help. But the majority of our lives we are adults. That’s 20 years as a young person and maybe 50-60 years as an adult.
So, I don’t do much volunteering for charitable organizations any more.
I spend every moment of my life working directly with the people with disabilities or the caregivers on the front lines. The ones who make little more than minimum wage. The people who take Aaron to the bathroom and clean up his messes. The people who celebrate Aaron’s diversity and think he’s a pretty neat guy. There is no tax write-off, no non-profits. Just people who care and need resources.
Segregated Charity–charity gone wrong
I don’t believe in onetime events like, “People with Disabilities Come to Church Sunday” where the church rents a ramp for the weekend (I couldn’t make this up). I don’t believe in Special Olympic Golf Fundraisers, when they won’t let Aaron even ride in the golf cart (“Oh, honey we just raise money for these poor children, we don’t actually want them on the course.”–couldn’t make that up either.) I don’t want Girl Scouts showing up at my door saying they want to play with my child because it is Lent and they have to do penance (some day I’ll share the details on that one.)
As Joe Shapiro wrote in his classic book, “NO PITY.” People with disabilities don’t want to be the object of other’s charity. People with disabilities have needs, but they are citizens with rights. They don’t want the handicapped parking place because you are having pity on them. They want the handicapped parking place because as a citizen and consumer, they need the extra wide space so they can get out of their car. And, as an American, I’m proud our country recognizes that right to equal access.
If we really want to help people with disabilities–don’t give them your dimes. Instead make room in your lives and give your love..and your friendship. That is the best gift and, I believe, closer to the Biblical definition of “charity.”
Like I said, this is complicated.
What are your experiences with charity models? With helping people with disabilities? What does it feel like when you are the giver? When you are the receiver? When do you feel pity? Charitable?
your thoughtfulness is apparant in simple things like even replying to each of the previous comments, this is a rare thing these days.
Charity and Love are difficult topics to understand. Glad this article helped.
This reminds me of when my dad said I should pity children with Spina Bifida (after I have worked with them at a volunteering camp) because they did not have the same opportunities as me. I remember thinking “I wouldn’t want to be pitied so why I should I pity them?”. My professor said more about this issue in class and I thought of this post as she was mentioning it. Great post, by the way!
Thanks Tara. You are using good judgment. If that’s not how you would want to be treated, then neither would someone else. It’s as simple as the GOLDEN rule.
Like a lot of people said in the previous comments, I believe charity is important, but if it’s coming from false hopes and for the wrong reasons then it’s actually quite sickening. I think charity for the right reasons can do so much good that the ones with the wrong reasons almost put them all to shame. People tend to lump all charities into one opinion, which I am guilty of doing. I honestly never really thought about it too much. I, being a “broke college student,” don’t tend to donate to charities but I’ve always had those thoughts like “oh, that’s good that they’re doing that.” I didn’t think about it in the way that was explained in the article here. So, all in all it’s kind of eye opening towards my opinion on charities.
I personally believe that charity is very important, but only if for the right reasons. I hate when people sign up to do charities and fundraisers just so they can post about it on Facebook or other social media to show that they are a “good person.” My major is Speech Pathology and Audiology, therefore I spend a great deal of time helping others who have special needs. To be quite honest, whenever I do therapy, a fundraiser or charity event with the special needs population, I feel that they help me more than I actually help them. I don’t do it because it makes me a “better” person, I simply like to volunteer my time because they make me a better person by showing me that life is a special gift for everyone. I was appalled to read your story about the church having a ramp one day but not all the time. Making accommodations for people who special needs is important because they are part of society too and need to be treated as a full member of society, not an outcast. I have worked with children who have autism for many years and although it is challenging at times, I do it because i can see what they have to offer the world. Your pity comment is spot on. I think that people view charity in the wrong light and do not see the real, underlying reason for helping others. Loved your blog, thanks for sharing!
Thanks Hannah. The word “Charity” is tricky because it has so many different meanings. It sounds like you have a good heart and you’re right, those who do good deeds because it looks good on their resume miss the boat. Thanks for you comments.
After reading this i realized what i had never realized before. I have been looking up to organizations, such as the ones you mentioned, for as long as i can remember. However, coming from the perspective of a teenager, who did not grow up with a sibling with sever special needs, i really had no background knowledge to foster these thoughts. The idea of an organization seemingly ‘worshipping’ their donors, while almost over looking the very reason they are an organization in the first place, is so valid, yet so appalling! This article has really made me think about how honest and genuine these groups really are, and even so if it would be more beneficial to provide help to those with these special needs directly. Maybe we simply need to cut out the ‘big man’ organizations, and provide the help for these individuals ourselves.
Jane, I love your “Big Man” organizations label. And, I truly believe we would all do better to just reach out and touch people directly. That is one reason I love going to Taylor. We are touching the lives of children directly.
Last week we hired a new company for my son’s care. It is why I get to know my son’s caregivers personally. At first, they are always suspicious and can’t understand me. After a year or so, they calm down and realize I’m not trying to take over watch their every move. I am trying to build a support team for my son. I don’t want the people who wipe his butt, and give him showers and prepare his food, to be nameless. I want them to be part of our extended family and I want them to see Aaron as part of their extended family. It’s a difficult concept for them to understand–and I don’t have the words. So, I use actions and try to read their minds. These direct actions build respect and hopefully trust–so that Aaron also becomes a real person, not just someone on their schedule.
I believe that charity is important; however, charity for the wrong reasons is worse than no charity at all. Though fundraising is an essential aspect of charity, I think that people often mistake making money as making a difference. Making a difference means dedicating your time, resources, and heart to a cause. Charity should not be inspired by pity. Charity should be inspired by the desire to better the community and the lives of the people you are impacting. It makes me sick that people are to develop a medical cure for autism because they do not want people with autism to exist. Though a cure for autism would be amazing, people with autism should be recognized as valuable members of society, NOT diseased individuals that need to be cured to better society. Additionally, people come before the cause. It is so hard for me to understand how the woman at the golf fundraiser could be an advocate of the cause but not an advocate of Aaron. How you treat people is what is most important; charity is helping people live the life they want and deserve to live.
Love your passion Amna. Charity and Love have to be for the right reasons as you so eloquently stated. We can just start with ourselves and hope the others get divine inspiration, right?
I really admire you for stepping up and being the teacher at Stepping Stones for the Handicapped. Especially with an infant and 20 month old. You already had a lot on your plate! Also, I find it sad that you and your family had to go through a court case in order to allow Aaron to go to a public school. It should be a right for everyone- disabled or not. Also, I admire the people who make little more than minimum wage and work with and take care of people with disabilities. It is not an easy task, but it is such honorable and amazing work.
Thanks Olivia. I guess you just take one step at a time (get it–take off on Stepping Stones). There were many good things that happened there. I met some other moms and we formed The Mothers of Special Children. It was a great time to learn and share. We got through things together.
Before reading this I would have disagreed with you and thought that charities are positive and are great After reading your article though, I completely agree with you. I cannot believe the things I did not know about charities and things I just did not even think of. It really amazes me that some people are doing “good” things even when they still look down on people with disabilities. I loved when you said “If we really want to help people with disabilities–don’t give them your dimes. Instead make room in your lives and give your love..and your friendship. That is the best gift and, I believe, closer to the Biblical definition of “charity.”” I thought that statement was really powerful and very true!
Hi Hannah, it’s tricky and not everyone understands. It’s sort of anti-American and anti-Christian to question “charity.” But if only we open our hearts and lives, that would do so much good. Thanks for your kind words.
I think how you fund-raised for this cause is incredible. I would want to get more information about how to get involved with organizations like this
My basic fundraising strategies is all about “systems theory”– I know you probably think that’s nuts, but if you really think in systems it solves so many issues and opens so much possibility.
I really enjoyed your statement that stated “When it is all about charity, then it is all about the person who is giving the money. When it is about a person’s life and rights, it is about the person with the disabilities.” There is so much truth in that statement. I sometimes feel as though people give for their own gratitude than for what the cause actually is.
so true and so sad. And usually they don’t even know it.
Its great to see how much you care about charity and doing things for others. I always love to raise money and so whatever I can to help people. Its nice seeing that you think so positively about things! You are such a passionate person and it makes me want to be that way to. Thanks for sharing this article!
We all are connected and if we learn anything from systems’ theory it is that what affects one person affects us all. So you’re right Annie, we all need to work together.
I love seeing how dedicated you are to help not only your son but many others. Reading your article opened my eyes to a lot of things, like how some fundraisers are raising money only to give it to doctors to attend conferences that they can afford themselves. I agree with you in that we should focus on the now! we need to focus on all the people living now and donating the money to helping them live a better life. I thought about the Norm Kunc’s Credo for Support when you talked about NO pity. I think this is a great message to spread, that people with disabilities have RIGHTS as Americans. They don’t need pity or for people to do things just because they feel bad. Great and inspiring article!
Thanks Abbey. It is so neat when someone like yourself sees the “other side” of the argument. Plus, you quoted Norm Kunc–how cool is that?
This is a paradigm that most people don’t understand. They never “get it.” Now, you can help us spread the word. 🙂
I think it is amazing how passionate and devoted you are. This article has shown me that charity isn’t about doing something for people just to do it, but to do it to make a difference in lives. My step uncle was born “disabled” and had been in a wheelchair his whole life. He died a couple years ago, but I know even with him being disabled he loved helping others out by doing charity work. It always made him smile knowing he was doing good in the world. Keep up the positive aspects of charity in life!
It sounds like your uncle was able to contribute and help out. That had to be great for his self-esteem –we all need to feel like we contribute.
It’s so awesome that you’re so passionate and making such a big difference. It shows what a big impact one person can have when they have the drive, the vigor, and a great team behind them.
Thanks Destany, but you do what you need to do. The charity/pity/guilt cycle is hard to explain–I’m glad you “get it”
I really like how positive and passionate you are towards everything. I love how you look at things in a positive light. My grandma who cares for my uncle with disabilities does as well and it makes everything 10x better.
You’ll have to share more about your uncle and Grandma–they sound like wonderful people. I try to be positive and it makes me smile to think you notice. There is much work to do, Abby, I’m glad you’re going to be helping us for the long haul. 🙂
It really amazes me with how active you have been during your lifetime in general. Regarding charity, i have never looked at it this way, but i completely agree. The easiest thing for me to give to myself is the happiness of others. I love everything you have done and I couldn’t imagine their lives without you. You are a blessed soul.
You are a blessed soul too EJ. If you see the happiness of others as a gift, you are making a difference in other people’s lives. Feel proud.
I never looked at charity in this way, but I have to say I definitely agree. Doing things for others is a big part of who I am, my personality. So, if in this case if all people want is love and friendship, that is the easiest thing to give of myself. Respect the people around you and don’t take everything you are given for granted because there was definitely a time when others weren’t provided with the things that you are usually not thankful for in every day life.
You are a giving person, so if you really listen to the people you are giving to, they will direct you. I wanted to talk about the difference between the golden rule of “Do unto others as you would do unto yourself” and the platinum rule: “Do unto others as THEY would do unto themselves.” I think this is such a powerful idea.
You look at things with such a positive light. I admire that. My mom used to take my brother Alex to the Stepping Stones center when we were younger, I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember the place in general.
I don’t feel pity for people like us, and I don’t WANT people to feel pity for us either. I think these children are blessings in each and every way. No matter how much we hate autism, we still love the kids.
You have a great attitude Hannah, and your love for Alex comes through. What a gallant little guy–from your stories he seems so self-confident. What a great tribute to you, your mom and your family.
Charity and Pity are hard concepts to explain to others. Some close relatives were going on “mission trips”. I couldn’t tell them that the “mission trip” wasn’t for the people in this poor neighborhood. The mission trip was for them.
These relatives are the same people who hardly touch Aaron or include him in their lives. It always hurts, but I try not to judge. They just don’t even connect that they have opportunities for family and connection and serving God in their own family–they don’t have to run off to South America for a week to find people who need help.
Unfortunately, I have very little experience with helping people with disabilities. I have volunteered consistently ever since I was in 7th grade. Some things I have done are coached cheerleading, worked with pre-schoolers and, recently, 1st & 5th graders during school, CAINs food pantry, and many more. Volunteering has always made me feel good. I love that I can give to others what I have been given to me and to help people who struggle. I sometimes forget how lucky I am. I love when people are truly appreciative of the time people give of their own to volunteer and do whatever it might be that they are there for. Whether it be helping them with their struggles, or just to help people take a break from daily routines and do fun activities.
We do have a lot to be thankful for. Sounds like you’ve helped a lot of people Jessica.
I think it is great the way you look at things. It is great that you do not want pity and you enjoy the life you live. I am a strong believer in finding the positive out of every situation and believe that you do this very frequently!
You’re wonderful Taylor. I’m as insecure as the next person, but sometimes you just have to speak your mind and try to make sense of this crazy world. That’s one of the advantages of having a child with a disability–you live life on the fringes of society and so you get a different perspective.
I really enjoy hearing how passionate you are about these subjects. I really enjoy helping people out through charities. It makes me feel like I am doing as much as I can to help those in need, though many times I wish I could directly help others and be their friend. One part of this article that I really agreed with was that we all wanted to help babies and young children. I think this is very true. I would absolutely love to work with kids one day, and I feel that is what makes me happy. However, I know that a lot of other people feel the same way. People don’t tend to want to help people as much when they get older. This article was very enlightening, though.
You’re the best Sadie. I know you will touch many lives–young and old. It does feel good to help others. 🙂
I find it amazing that they could have a program like stepping Stoned would take in 30 people and have no teacher for them! What type of program is this, is makes me wonder if they were even there to help at all!? I’m glad to see they had such amazing volunteer but having no teacher is just sending the wrong message, why start the program with no one to teach it!
also there were some grammatical errors “I could sleep in a couple years.”
It amazes me how involved you have been. I love volunteering myself. It makes me feel so much better about myself. Especially when people are in need of help.
thanks Miranda. It’s been an amazing ride.
I instantly thought back to Norm Kunc’s Credo for Support when I read this article; I remember him saying something almost exactly like this, that he doesn’t want pity or charity, he wants respect and then maybe that will lead to a friendship. Both the Credo and this article opened my eyes to the truth, I had never thought about charity being for the wrong reasons before I took your class. I’m so much more aware now.
Love that you thought of Norm. I wish you will get to meet him someday. We all need to see things from each person’s perspective. It matters what lenses we are using.
I couldn’t believe the church had a ramp up for only one weekend, why wouldn’t there always be a ramp so the church is always accessible, every Sunday all year. Also not letting Aaron ride the golf cart, and saying poor children and saying “them” and the girl scouts playing with him for penance. I believe that you couldn’t make this up, I couldn’t make this up either. Some things are just so crazy and ridiculous it’s hard to believe you even heard that person right. I always have to just stare at them for a minutes and say “wait what” a few times. I also understand where you are coming from, people with disabilities don’t need pity they need rights. I’m not a big fan of the charity model. I prefer volunteering for an extended amount of time. Don’t get me wrong the money is important and I’m all for donating money, especially for me I like to donate money to “Planned Parenthood” but I think putting your time and effort into helping people is important too. I like to help people with disabilities, my specific interest is people with learning disabilities, Autism, and Executive Functioning Disorder.I love to give help and support, but I feel uncomfortable receiving it. I feel pity for people who have it rough, friends and family who are going through a hard time. I feel pity and charitable towards women in tough situations.
I could feel your empathy and support for the “crazy” situations I’ve been in. I appreciate that.
It is really difficult to explain this. Like you, I like to give and don’t like to get help. It is humbling to not be able to give your child everything they need. We depend on the community, and our government to help us. Aaron is just so vulnerable–and he will always be on the fringe of society. It is because of people like yourself that he will have a chance. Thanks.
I have never really thought of charities that way. I always thought that they were helping and supporting people with disabilities have an equal life. I think all of the volunteering things that you have done are amazing. You have done a lot of really amazing things.
Charities do wonderful things for people in need. But, there is a dark underbelly to most things, even charities. Fortunately, there are board members who are conscientious and government agencies who keep an eye on things. Plus, there are some strange “charities” like the Professional Golf Association and others where the executive director gets a hefty salary and they have high overhead. That’s something to watch when you get asked to be on boards.
There are a lot of good people in the world and certainly a lot of need. We can be thankful when everything works out. 🙂
I really liked how involved you were in the schools and in other fundraisers. I actually enjoy helping with fundraisers and I love volunteering at places that need an extra set of hands. It’s very neat and interesting to hear about what all you did and what all you contributed to.
Thanks Paige, the point is to learn from the experiences and to recognize that you are getting something out of it too. Few things have the financial or people support they need to do more than the basics. We need caring people like you who volunteer to help and it does feel good. It’s awkward to talk about personal experiences and its that paradigm shift thing too. I hope the message came across.
I thought the idea of a lot of charity money going to cures was an interesting point. A lot of charities do this in many different spheres to “benefit” people. I wonder which ones you believe are doing charity correctly, I’d like to hear about those.
An organization I’ve been involved in with special needs is Capernaum, which is a part of Young Life. A lot of my friends are involved more than I am, but about twice a month I go to hang out with a lot of middle school to early adult aged students. We have what is called “club” where we all sing songs and dance and eat pizza. We also have what’s called “campaigners” which is more of a bible study that’s fit for their abilities. I love hanging out with the students. I don’t really look at it as helping or charity because it’s not a burden or work, it’s fun and they care that you’re there and I like caring about the students that show up. I think if more people spent time with students with disabilities they could find out what each person needs. Maybe some do need love, maybe some need healing, or some just want to sing and dance. I don’t think you’ll know by just reading or hearing someone talk about it though, you have to interact and get to know someone with disabilities to know who they are and what they can do.
You’re right Shelby, you often can’t tell from the outside. The group you described sounds like a group of friends getting together, rather than a charitable event. Does each person share the power of the group decision making, or are the people with disabilities being told what the “rest” have decided on their behalf?
Thank you for blogging. I appreciate your efforts.
Glad to have you here Antayla. Hope you look around at some of the other articles. The balance of charity and love is a tricky concept for many people.
I once heard that once someone sets up an organization to help a cause, they guarantee that the cause will always be. As some of these organizations get bigger, it seems their goal is self-preservation rather than
fix” what they started out to fix and then shut down once the mission is accomplished. Great article.
Thanks so much. Sometimes I feel like Scrooge. I really don’t like to be an outlier just for the sake of causing an argument.
The concepts of charities are so complex. I’m not sure if I would agree that “the cause will always be.” I have been on a number of ad hoc boards established for one purpose, “pass a bond issue” “start a summer school program”… But you are certainly right that many many boards are all about self-preservation ie. they will spend hours and hours writing a grant to do something they could have done in the same amount of time.
Thanks for throwing your “bark” into the ring. Hope you’ll stop by again.
By far the most concise and up to date information I found on this topic.
Thanks Laureen. This is a difficult concept for lots of people. Hope you will jump in and tell us more about yourself.
Aside from the shocking segregated charity events, the thing that fascinates and empowers me from this is your frustration with charities that spend a huge percentage of their donors hard earned money on admin costs. You’ve shown me (yet again) that despite what so called ‘business experts’ have suggested, there is a place for a charity run entirely on love.
That excites me more than I can really express because I’m the founder of a charity that, in real terms, is currently teeny tiny. But I have massive aspirations. We have no paid staff. It is all run by love. I was told by one person that we have to have paid staff because it gives us credibility! Posts like this make me more adamant than ever that there is a different way and maybe, just maybe, I have a part to play in demonstrating that.
Thank you Mary 🙂
Wow El, tell us more about what you are trying to do.
Maybe it is more than a coincidence that Johnny (above) is looking for ideas.
I’ve been thinking about this all night. It is an important topic. There are no easy answers, but maybe together we can figure out some of the places to start.
BTW: There is a role for paid staff in some circumstances. But your work builds your credibility and speaks for who you are and what you are about.
Look up info on Life Space Interview (LSI), Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI), Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI), Positive Behavioral Intervention Strategies (PBIS), and Positive Behavioral Facilitation (PBF). These concepts give a ton of segettrias and techniques for managing students with Emotionally Impairment.
You’re so spot on. The “no pity” thing is one of the things I had in mind right from Go with the Badass Project. How do you raise money for people without making it like some sort of handout in the spirit of, “Oh, you poor thing… you need my help”? It’s a fine line. People want to help, but implying that they’re “poor things” is contrary to what I’d like to do. Empower and assist, but don’t condescend.
Hopefully I can stay on the right side of that line.
Hey Johnny, since you set up ClimbingEveryMountain.com, it’s more than cool you are commenting.
I’ve watched your posts and adventures in “Question the Rules” for over a year and know you have a good heart. I applaud what you are trying to do in your “Go with the Badass” project. I’ve also been following Jon Morrow and what he is trying to do. I’m sure you will find the right side of the “No Pity…Empower and Assist Line” but it has a razor edge.
It’s the segregated charity events (above) that cause me the most concern.
I’ll help however I can.
Sometimes I just think that people write and dont really have much to say. Not so here
Thanks Reed. Welcome to the mountain. Hope you’ll tell us more about yourself and chime in.
I think many charitable organizations exist for the benefit of their administrative staffers — just check any of the numerous websites that track the percentage of donated funds that actually go to the causes they support.
You’ve raised some excellent points, Mary!
Thanks Becke, I hope this all made sense. There are many groups who do a lot of good work. Can’t lump them all togehter, but definitely some to avoid.
I think you’ve answered yourself – two blog posts. Why I’ve had a great life. What there is left to do. List posts?
You’ve given me some ideas for new posts. Thanks.
Wow, it sounds like you have had some tough knocks. I can understand your scepticism.
I don’t feel pity, I feel awed by the tolerance and strength it must take to live your life. I’ve just written a post about my massive need for sleep and here you are saying sleep can wait a few years. But then I worry I’m being patronizing. Then I worry that I’m being the type of person you talk about. And then I worry that I’m worrying about how I feel all the time. But I want to help. I want to support. I’m just scared of doing or saying the wrong thing.
If the tables are turned and I am the receiver, I have noticed that I can receive from those I respect and like. I am still working out the reasons why. The deeper question is why is the same gesture acceptable from some and unacceptable from others? Hmmm….Mary, you pose some challenging questions.
This was hard to write because I don’t want people to give pity, I’ve had a great life. Met some amazing people and am proud of what I’ve accomplished. But there is so much more to do.
Maybe you can help me say this better. It really is a complicated thought to explain.