A story of educating a child on appearances and how we are all the same.
Your child will probably be exposed to a variety of new sights in the community that they may have never seen before in your home, playground or in school. These new sights often catch a child off guard and may lead to awkward comments and staring. Given my line of work I have always been comfortable and did not give much thought about being around individuals who did not look or act the same as myself.
Until the day I was out shopping at Lowe’s. There I was looking through the hardware section when my daughter said loud enough for the world to hear “Mom, look there is a monkey in the store.” I felt my face turn bright red and my palms begin to sweat. What could my daughter possibly be looking at that would make her say this? As I braced myself, I turned around to see a little person with dark hair and a beard. Other terms such terms as dwarf, little person, LP, and person of short stature are all considered acceptable. I began explaining to my daughter that adults come in all shapes and sizes. Even though this man was shorter then mommy and daddy he was still an adult man. I also explained that sometimes men choose to grow facial hair called mustaches and beards. Then in the innocence of a child’s mind, she processed the information and said “Oh I get it he is a little monkey man!” Now I went from shocked to mortified as I sat there having this conversation with my daughter while he was listening to us. At this point I wanted to turn and run out of the store. But what message would this be sending to my daughter. Instead I decided for us to walk over to the man and introduce ourselves and ask his name. I wanted her to understand he was just like us. I wanted her to be accepting and loving of others for their differences and not to be scared and run away from them.
By: Shannon Davis PT, DPT