Friday, November 1, 2013
Reflections on a Past Experience
I will tell you a story that involved me sticking up for someone being teased only about three years ago or so. I was at my friend's daughter's Head Start facility, waiting for her to get out of her class. There was this little boy, maybe about three years of age, who was still in diapers. I heard the teachers talking out in the open about it. They said his mom sent him in diapers because some medication he was on was giving him diarrhea. The little boy was crying because he needed his diaper changed, and one of the teachers harshly said to him in a loud voice, "You need to wait and be quiet. You should not even be wearing diapers anyway. You're too old."
My heart ached for the boy because I knew how he felt, and the poop was likely irritating his bottom, especially if it was diarrhea. I had enough of this bullying and ignorant behavior, and I was determined to show these moronic teachers that age does not determine when someone does or does not wear diapers. I was unable to stand by any longer and watch this go on and walk away and do nothing. I am not one who can stand by and silently watch injustice. I have to get involved. The Bible says so, anyway.
I jumped up from where I was sitting, swung my diaper bag over my shoulder and opened it up. I pulled out one of my diapers in full view, saying, "You know? I got an F in toilet training! I am 26 and still have to wear diapers. I have a medical problem. I can't control my bladder at all, and I sometimes poop myself. So, stop bullying that little boy and change his diaper, so he can be comfortable. I know how it feels to sit in diarrhea when I do it on myself and can't get to a place to change fast enough. If I knew who his parents were, I’d tell them how you are treating their child. You should be ashamed of yourself!" I said it loud enough so all the parents, staff and anyone else could hear, and I swung my diaper around in the air, so all could see it. Everyone was silent. I had the attention of all in the waiting area.
Seconds after my outburst, the boy was taken into the bathroom and changed. Other teachers and parents came up to me and asked me about how incontinence impacted my life. I politely answered their questions. I also got a number of comments from other parents and teachers about how brave I was and how I’d be one who stands up and makes changes for the better someday. I also got a few hugs from some.
I felt so proud of myself. Not only was it a teachable moment, it was a moment when I could stand up for someone who was helpless and could not stand up for himself. Children are the most helpless people of them all, and I cannot stand by and watch one get mistreated without doing something.