It’s been a while since we all came to know SUSAN BOYLE who auditioned for the “Britain’s Got Talent” show.
The surprise of it all………….how did YOU respond? What was your first impression?
I couldn’t help, initially, feeling sorry for her – first because she didn’t “look” the part all of us were expecting; then because she had to listen to the jeering and sneering of the unforgiving crowd and judges – how impolite, rude and mean spirited. She certainly didn’t “look” like she’d be able to sing like she could, but she hadn’t even been given the chance to “prove herself” before the laughing and jesting began. Certainly she “showed” us all what she had to offer. I was personally happy to hear the judges make an apology for how they and the audience mis-perceived her!
Recently someone called, telling me of a young special needs pre-teen being teased by classmates. They were concerned about the “bullying” and negative comments and how their child would ever be able to rise above all the hurtful things people were saying. Upon my request, they proceeded to tell me some of the wonderful attributes their child with special needs has: kind, forgiving, patient (most of the time), never desiring or thinking of “getting even,” and so on. It’s too bad, isn’t it, that while this child can’t read, do math, or speak very well, he has such redeeming qualities that would rival those bullying? Might you, I, or those bullies who wonder what this young person has to offer take some the time to notice?
It’s my hope that we’ll take notice of one young person (or older!) overcoming some pretty amazing odds. Bullying isn’t just an issue for kids in school; we see it in business, politics, community, church, and sometime even in families. I also hope we’ll look around to see how we can appropriately respond to others who look, speak, think, or act differently than we do by taking the time to learn what they have to offer before passing judgment or being critical. Here are some thoughts to consider and questions to ask ourselves about others with any kind of “special differences”:
- How will we respond the next time someone different from us comes across our path?
- What are the redeeming qualities this person possesses?
- Can we find something worthwhile this person does or is that will help us see them differently or better?
- How can we encourage this special person, no matter what their abilities are in order for them to become all they can be?
- Let’s be an example for others to follow by not pointing, teasing, and otherwise making fun of those who are different from us.
- Hopefully we can use positive and encouraging words to move this person to succeeding to the best of their abilities.
- May we refrain from jeering and sneering, which is rude, mean, insensitive, and impolite.
- Open our hearts to looking for the positive character traits one possesses rather than the abilities they are lacking.
- Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge lest you be judged yourselves.” That sums it up!
Remember: we can’t judge a book by its cover—and shouldn’t.