Other than a comment or two on some of my favorite blogs, I have pretty much stayed out of the r-word fray. For those of you not in the Ds community, the r-word is "retard" or "retarded". It is being used as slang to mean "stupid" and its use is increasing at an alarming rate, as far reaching as the White House and as close to home as extended family. Perhaps, in a future post, I will attempt to explain why those words are hurtful, but for now, I just want to vent.
I have an opportunity to speak to the youth of our church about this topic. Not wanting to come off as preachy and irrelevant, I wrote a post on my Christian homeschooling forum asking for advice. I gave a little background on why the word is hurtful and then asked for input on how I could present it.
I was completely unprepared for the backlash that ensued. I am so naive. I had no idea that I would have to defend my position on this board, of which I've been a member for seven years. These people were my online family. They congratulated us on the births of four of our children, including hearty congratulations for the birth of Eon, which I desperately needed. They prayed us through heart surgery and our overwhelming first year with him. I felt safe there.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not shy. I love a good debate...when I know it's coming. This just blindsided me.
You know what? I just went through and reread the entire thread to find quotes to post here and had a startling revelation: 33 people responded to my post. Of those, only 3 had anything negative to say. Thirty people were encouraging, defending, and supporting me. A few people even said that they had no idea those words were hurtful and they will stop using them!
And here I sat....in tears. So focused on the measly three, that I could not embrace the support I'd been given by the other thirty. Isn't that just like us? Only focusing on what's wrong and forgetting to celebrate what's right?
Shame on me.