I am inspired every day by the wonderful children that I teach and when I am with them I don't ever think about what label they have been given...it just never occurs to me that these children are different in any way. Instead I see them as unique and any point of difference is that which makes them special and individual. My passion as an educator is to bring this an awareness to the world at large and in doing so create new understandings about us all as the human race. We honestly can no longer put everyone in a neat little box and call it normal.....what elements then define what is considered to be normal? Are we considered normal if we are a certain size; if we perform well in specific tests; if we live a certain lifestyle? Or is there really no such thing as normal and what is actually normal are unique, individual and exquisitely different beings, all of whom make up the fabric that is society. If this is truth and authentic, then we must reconsider how we approach so-called disability. Are special schools where 'special' children are segregated, excluded and ultimately ostracised viable in an evolving society that seeks to include all and create a new normal.
The truth is society finds 'difference' confronting and therefore causes a level of discomfort....I'm sorry to say, we can no longer make people comfortable...all people (which in essence means all children) deserve to be an integral and functional part of the every day machinations of society. If you feel uncomfortable, then honestly it is up to you to examine that....is it the child with all their uniqueness who makes you uncomfortable, or is it that you don't really know how to respond and relate to them?
I seek to challenge this uncomfortableness...I want to scratch upon the blackboard of the norm and gain your attention because by excluding anyone who is different we are missing out as a society on all possibilities for brilliance and genius.
Every single child has the potential for greatness - and every single child has something spectacular to contribute to the world. However if we only see greatness as something that is quantified by a test score or academia we miss all the other opportunities where brilliance can emerge. What is greatness, brilliance, talent or genius after all? I believe there is not a box big enough to contain the possibilities....greatness can come in so many forms and has so many layers....yet we limit greatness by a standard definition that narrows our vision.
One of the children I teach has many physical challenges, yet he inspires me every day with his courage and determination....his greatness abounds as he never lets his physical problems define him....he finds a way to do everything everyone else can do, and then some. He challenges me to stop thinking about my own aches and pains and to become more resilient. What a gift!
Another of my students with autism rarely speaks, yet he has the ability to look right into your soul and in that instant you feel an immediate exchange of love, understanding and acceptance....such magnificence! It is a privilege to have a connection with him.
I have a student who tells me daily what an awesome friend I am to her.....she is so full of truth and authenticity which compels me to be the same. I am forever changed by my students and changed for the better and these are changes I may never have experienced if I had not met these children.
However, in a world of exclusion we miss this greatness; and more often than not these children are overlooked because they are defined by a box that "says special and less than". I don't want to offend anyone however at the same time I must speak what is the truth. These kids are defined by lack and disability, test scores and what is considered normal....and once they are put into a box defined by their condition we forget to remember what they can do; how they can be brilliant; and what they can contribute to the greater world.
Why must everyone be the same? The simple answer is we don't.
I advocate that we look at all people from the perspective of greatness...and go beyond traditional views to truly see people for their essence. When we do this we see the potential in all...we see the wonderment of all and when we do this, we do ourselves the best favour because we will never ever miss a moment of greatness again. The effect is then exponential....the meeting is a union of energetic alignment where one rubs off on the other. Essentially each meeting is a moment of
brill-alliance and not one moment can ever be missed.
Consequently, for the universe to be become the best it can be and potentialise its future we must co- create, co- exist and collaborate with all. We need to recognise the brilliance and greatness in all human beings. Inclusion is key to this step and this brings in a new wave of educational thought and paradigmatic change....our education system must align to this concept. I know with certainty that when we achieve this our lives will be forever changed for the better as all possibilities for genius will be given an opportunity to shine.