When I told my 3 year old a story of a mommy and child going out, she quickly asked ‘Does the mommy have two legs?’ I said ‘Yes’. She remarked, ‘My mommy has one leg when at home and two when we go out. For her that is normal. As a teenager there come a time when she thinks less of me because of my physical issue. But I hope that by then we normalize these physical differences enough for people not to make an issue of them.
I have never met a child who has found me ‘different’. They are only curious to know what the difference is. Never to weigh it down. Let me also mention in the same breath that most adults I meet are quite unlike that. The first thing that people notice is that I walk with a limp. In a few seconds they’d have formed an impression about me in their minds. I can feel the vibes. And as our initial conversation progresses, I can also sense how the other person slowly begins to see the person behind the amputee. While I am quite used to this and do not find it unnerving, it is definitely not nice to have to do this all the time.
Today, the culture in schools is rather scary. If you don’t conform, if you’re different from the majority, then you’re treated like an outcast. The overbearing kids bully you, the meeker ones pity your situation, and most aren’t strong enough to stand by you worried by the stigma.
The biggest favour we can do for the next generation is to teach them from ever since they can remember to embrace differences and respect them. One of the major reasons why a well-travelled person is more broad-minded is not because of the number of countries he has pinned or the number of insta or youtube followers he has. It is purely because he has experienced those many cultures, met more people from all kinds of backgrounds and has interacted with so many different people that he begins to respect all of them equally.
Any person different from you be it in religion, race, color, culture, physical appearances, language, physical & mental abilities is a way for you to become a richer human being. A little respect goes a long way.