Note: I didn't mention in the original post, Discrimination, that the incident happened at church. I didn't want to anger or embarrass anyone with my musings. I mention it now because I'm proud of the people there and the turn around that I've already seen with just a little education.
Eon went back to class, today, and was warmly welcomed. It was a different teaching team and they were not "warned" ahead of time that he would be there, but they took it completely in stride and were glad to have him.
Before we left for church, I told him that he needed to sit still for story time in his class. "Uh-uh," shaking his head no. "Yes, you will. You have to sit down and listen during story time." "Uh-uh," again. "Eon, if you don't sit still for story time, you will not go to your class." Big, big sigh, and then, a resigned, "Gah." (Yeah.)
He sat still for story time.... Of course, he took his shoes off about four times during the class. (Baby steps...:)
It happened to be a "Celebration of Giving" Sunday in which all of the little kids parade in front of the congregation to drop their coins into a bucket.
It thrilled me to see him be a part of it, marching to the front with his peers and dropping the money in (with prompting:). At the same time, it saddened me a bit to think there might be others watching and thinking he shouldn't be there, but he'll prove them wrong.
After chuch, one of the teachers, an older gentleman, that had issues with Eon's presence last week approached me and asked me how to relate to him. I explained that Eon is just like any other three-year-old boy who is new to the class and doesn't know the routine. He just needs some closer supervision and guidance, but he'll get there. He seemed very concerned that he didn't know how to communicate with Eon. I explained that, even though he doesn't have very many words, he understands everything we say to him. He seemed surprised by that. He finally asked me what health concerns he has and what he should watch out for. He was visibly surprised when I replied, "None. He's perfectly healthy."
Then it was his turn to surprise me, "Sounds like I just need to spend more time with him and get to know him."
Exactly. I could have kissed him!
A class coordinator apologized to me over the whole fiasco from last week. In talking with her about it, I mentioned that I had been tempted to just go to another church that already has a special needs ministry. She responded, "Oh, don't leave! That would just make it easier for us, and easy is not what we need. We need to learn!"
Wise words. She's right. They do need to learn.
But so do I.
This experience has taught me the value of standing up for my son with humility, that most people have good hearts, that change can occur rather quickly when people want to learn, that sticking out the hard times in community is worth it, and that I should have taught Eon to put shoes on before I taught him to take them off. :)
This kid continues to teach us all.