While I’m away in CO, my sweet friend Meghan is sharing something that’s so dear to her heart today! Enjoy!
Retarded. Oh my friends, how this word hurts my heart.
I have many reasons for why I believe this word should not be in our vocabulary as a society, but will let you know the one closest to my heart first. My sister is severely autistic, deaf, mute and partially blind. She is 28 and lives with my parents. Whenever the word ‘retarded’ is used (whether in regards to Amanda or not) it ignites in me an automatic defense of her abilities and why people with disabilities are not only disabilities, but have many more abilities than disabilities. For some reason, people usually can only see the disabilities though. Amanda can balance better than almost any one I know. She is incredibly smart and although she lacks some of her senses, she can figure out how to manipulate most situations to her benefit. She is funny and sometimes includes her family members in her jokes or silliness. Although Amanda and some people with as severe disabilities as her, can’t hear the word ‘retarded’ her family members and friends can. It hurts.
I am also a teacher who interacts with students with physical and cognitive disabilities everyday. These students are some of my favorite and I believe that God has given me a special love for who they are as people. People is what these precious children are. If we as a society continue to let them hear the word ‘retarded’ are we not setting them up to believe they can only do so much? Are not setting ourselves up to believe that they can only reach the lowest bar? I NEVER want any of my students to believe this because I believe each one can achieve more than any one would imagine. My students can hear the word ‘retarded’. It hurts.
Now, this last part is to any believer that is reading my blog. Please listen carefully because I do not believe that most people use the word ‘retarded’ with the intention to be cruel or unloving. But believe me, no matter what context you use it, to a family member, friend or the person themselves, it is hurtful and cruel. God does not see people with disabilities as ‘retarded’ or anything less than what he created them to be. To think that God made a mistake when creating these wonderful people, would be to question God’s sovereignty. I think once people as believers realize that God loves them as much as you or I, they will begin to realize how hurtful this word can be.
So whether you are directly calling someone ‘retarded’ or simply saying ‘that’s so retarded!’, I encourage you to think about using a different word. Ears of persons with disabilities are listening. Ears of family members and friends of people with disabilities are listening.
Ears of your children are listening and their world view is being formed.