Yesterday afternoon my 14 year old daughter made me so proud to be her father that I’m going to tell you about it right now. Call it a “humble brag” if you want, but reading what she posted as her status on Facebook yesterday brought a tear to my eye for not only the truth in what she wrote but also because it’s the kind of leadership that I want for my children to embrace.
Here’s her status:
It honestly makes me so mad when I see people commenting on pictures telling their friends that they look Autistic. It makes me sad what our generation has come to. It’s as if people have no respect anymore for those who really are Autistic. Seriously, just put yourself in another person’s shoes. Think about how they would feel if they saw someone mocking the way they look. Think before you make the comment, because what you say really does hurt people. I don’t care if it was meant to be funny, it’s just not okay. Kids my age are always wondering why adults don’t have as much respect for them anymore, and this is why. Making fun of other people is not cool or funny, nor does it make you any more popular. It just puts people down and makes them lose respect for you. It also makes the many people who can see it lose respect for you. THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. Sorry about the rant. I just thought it needed to be said.
To those of you with young children I want to encourage you to really think about the message that you’re sending them every time you open your mouth. They’re watching and listening and learning from your example. They’re also watching to see if you stand up for people who don’t fit within society’s awfully narrow definition of “normal”. Perhaps they will be encouraged and empowered to stand up for others in the face of potential backlash from their own peers. I remember a banner that used to hang at a school where I used to teach. It’s message was clear and very applicable to what my daughter did.
Doing what it popular isn’t always right. Doing what is right isn’t always popular.
Unlike many jobs where you can see tangible results of your efforts or your supervisor gives you an annual review, being a Stay At Home Dad (or Mom) requires a LOT of patience. You have to embrace the notion of delayed gratification and have faith that what you’re doing as a parent is going to work out well (or at least not screw up your kid so much that therapy can’t undo it). So, for me it’s a pretty big deal to see my daughter put such a post on her page where her friends can see it. I want my kids to be kind, considerate and compassionate people who are willing to be leaders when necessary. In this case, my daughter saw something written on Facebook and, unlike many of her peers, didn’t turn the other way and keep on scrolling. She stood up for what she knew was right and spoke the truth. Way to go!