I recently sustained a foot injury at my place of employment. The immediacy of the pain that raced throughout my foot and leg was indescribable and intense. Thankfully, my employer afforded to me leave work and to see a podiatrist. I left his office still in pain and with a large clunky boot on my foot. I realized a sense of comfort with the thought that I have what I need to get through the healing process.
My temporary situation and pain helped me to consider others and imagine the physical or emotional challenges that they experience each day? Some might carry their load in the form of depression, pain or sadness, that is not always visible to others around them.
Be sensitive to the needs of others. Many parents and students struggle in silence with physical challenges and diagnoses, that challenges their ability to open doors. I visited a government office on last week, and literally stood at the bottom of the stairs, wondering how in the world would I climb those stairs? Thankfully, I garnered up the strength to withstand the pain and make it inside, but not before I looked around for marked locations at the front of the buildings that could accommodate others. Consider the needs of your colleagues, students or employees as you go through your day. Ask yourself, what if anything can you do to brighten their day.
Remind your students about the needs of others. Encourage your students to take an extra moment and ask someone if they need help, no matter how independent they might seem. or just say hello and something that will make them smile. Let’s keep our eyes open for individuals who might need a little nudge, a push or a door opened for them, as, we move students in and out of our schools this semester.
Say something nice to others. Compliments are another great way to get involved in anyone’s life, but especially those who are physically disabled. For the past 15+ years, I have had the privilege of watching a gentleman who is a quadriplegic, maneuver himself from his car and into this home. I was never physically close enough to him to strike up a conversation until this past Monday, when I passed him rolling past in his wheelchair. I backed up my car, stopped and told him exactly what I have shared with you, that I have watched him carry out his daily activities for many years, and how proud I am of what he does to get around. A big smile came over his face and he thanked me and rolled on. pun intended.
Sharon Edwards-Billings, is a parent to three young adult daughters who completed their education in public schools. Submit your comments or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org