May 6, 2010

Offensive or not?

If I walk out my door with any of my kids ... I WILL get questions.  People just feel the need to comment on my family.  That's fine.  I'm used to is.

Some of the comments are funny, some are stupid, some insane and some are downright insulting (Bordering on criminal).

The other day, I took Zoe (Chinese) and Manny (Guatemalan) with me somewhere and the lady kept insisting they were birth siblings.  I kept explaining that she was born in C H I N A and he was Guatemalan.  But clearly, she knew better than I did.

Or when I go with the kids and they insist that all must be adopted except Sam. (He's blonde, blue eyes and freckles so I "get it".)  I inform them that no, he was adopted too.  And then I've had more than a dozen or so people ARGUE with me that he was actually my birth child.  To which I respond, "I think I would remember a child exiting my body." (and then I smile)

Today, we were at the school.  Some of the staff were having lunch and the Vice Principal saw me pushing the new baby she hadn't seen yet.  She ooohed and aaaahed.  Then one staffer said, "You're looking like a United Nations family."  And I smiled.

I said, "It's funny that you mention that ..."  but before I could finish the sentence, she apologized and hoped she had not offended me.

Quite the contrary.  So I finished my sentence.  That is what we had in mind when we started this family.  We even used that VERY term "United Nations family".

It got me thinking again about the highly offensive comments my kids and I have endured.  Mostly out of ignorance, but still hurtful.  I think I've taught them how to handle most comments.  They know their true identity.  They know who they ARE and an off-handed comment by a stranger can't devalue that.

But as we head with Manny ... we're headed into new territory.  It's entirely likely he might need a wheelchair.  We're seeing daily strides ... but there might be a time.  And you can tell something is "off" by looking at him and how he doesn't move properly.  So unlike race (that we've faced before), we're headed towards unchartered territory.

I'm already SHOCKED by the comments people have made and the questions they ask ... not thinking.  I truly thought I couldn't be shocked any more.  Thought I'd heard it all.  But clearly, we've his new waters.

My point?  I wonder how times I open my mouth and let words fly out before I truly think about it.  How many times have I given someone reason to walk away frustrated with me.

I was taught a rule of thumb ... if it's not helpful or necessary, then don't say it.  Period.

I think I need to make t-shirts.  I'd make a fortune!

1 comment:

  1. Loosely translated Scripture, "Never lose an opportunity to keep your mouth shut".---> from a book by Elisabeth Elliot, I think. hehe I am sure I have offended people before, but I hope people can forgive my unique combination of AOADD and curiosity and interest in people and children. You'd let me know, right? :)