12.03.2008

BLAKE'S CLASSROOM TALK

Our talk went well in the classroom yesterday. Actually really well. The children were caring and compassionate...except for two little boys who looked directly at each other and smirked when I mentioned that Blake still wore diapers, like they had info that they could use to their advantage. {I will be watching those two boys closely....they might be evil!}

I followed 'the talk' with a letter home to the parents explaining what we talked about. The letter is below. But before you read the letter, I'll just start your tears flowing now with this.....When Blake got out of school, I took him to KevaJuice for a special treat for his special day at school. I asked him how he had felt while we were talking about his situation with his classmates {he had sat at my feet facing the kids while I talked....with his arms wrapped around my left leg...I wanted him to stay there forever.}

Here is how our conversation went......

Me: "Blake, how did you feel while I was talking with your classmates...were you scared or embarrassed?"

Blake: "No, Mommy. I felt special. God was watching over me while you were talking."

Me: "God, was watching over you....how did you know that?"

Blake: "I felt him there with me. He was watching over me."


Here is the letter......

Dear Room 1 Parents,

Today I talked for a few minutes with your children about how people are made differently. I first talked to the kids about feelings and how it feels to be happy and how it feels to be sad. More importantly we talked about how it feels when someone hurts your feelings by being made fun of or teased. I then talked to them about how we are all different. I talked about how some people have curly hair and others have straight hair. Some people are tall and some are short. Some people have blond hair while others have brown or black. Some people can walk and other people are in wheelchairs. Some people wear glasses and some people don’t. I talked about how we don’t make fun of people who have blond hair, or curly hair, or people who wear glasses, or even people in wheelchairs. I talked about how all bodies are made different.

Blake was born with Spina Bifida, a permanently disabling birth defect. I told the children, that before Blake was born, we were told by doctors that Blake would be in a wheelchair….that he would never walk or run….that he would be made different in many ways from other children. I then continued with sharing our surprise and happiness when he could walk and run but we did find out that Blake was different and would have problems doing some things that other children can do easily. Blake has no feeling or control in his bladder or bowels. Just like we don’t make fun of someone who wears glasses, we don’t make fun of someone who wears diapers especially when they can’t control that part of their body. I talked to the kids about not making Blake feel sad about being different, but helping him to be happy by not hurting his feelings or making fun of him. {I come to the classroom often to assist Blake with his special needs. We catheterize Blake every 3-4 hours to empty his bladder and we are working on a bowel program…I did not share this with the children.}I let the kids each take a turn sharing about a time they helped someone out with a problem they were having and I told the kids that I knew they would be a great friend to Blake too!

I encouraged the children to talk to their parents if they had any questions and I want you to please feel free to call me with any questions that you might have. Again, we did not go into detail about his potty needs, just that he is made different. Please remind your children if they bring it up that Blake is not in diapers because he is a baby, he is in pull-ups or diapers because he cannot make that part of his body work correctly….he was made different. He is still the same fun Blake that wants to run, play soccer and hang out. Most importantly Blake wants to have friends that accept him exactly how he was made.

Thank you for raising caring children. They showed such tenderness and concern for Blake and for me {when I cried a little}. Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you might have. As a family we have been very open about discussing Blake’s special needs hoping to give Blake confidence about being different and educating those around him.

April Kennedy
Blake's Mommy



My heartfelt thanks to you for your thoughts and prayers yesterday. They were definitely felt by the most important person....Blake!

21 comments:

  1. April, you rock! I wonder if it is too late (or just the right timing!) to have a talk like this with all the kids at Emma's junior high!

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  2. What an amazing experience. I am absolutely certain your sweet Blake was being watched over by Heavenly Father and his angels, too. My heart goes to all of you and I'm so glad to hear it all went well yesterday.

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  3. I know I don't know you, but I thought of you and Blake yesterday. I am so glad everything went well. Your family is an inspiration. God Bless.

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  4. How wonderful that you were able to do that. I truly believe that there is power in knowledge and children need to know that they should be kind & accepting of EVERYONE! We all have our private & not-so private struggles.

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  5. I can't believe I decided to read that before a work meeting. Now I have to go and fix my eye makeup again. geez. Thanks April for all you do! You are an inspiration.

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  6. I am so glad that you are so pro-active April. I think what you did took guts and in the end it will help all the kids relate better to Blake's situation.

    Thanks for sharing your personal struggles to inspire the rest of us and give us courage.

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  7. Sniff...
    I am so glad he can feel Heavenly Father watching over him. Your letter was lovely, I have no doubt that you had a positive and lasting impact on the children in that classroom. He will change many lives for good, I do not doubt that.

    Well done mom!

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  8. Great letter to the parents!

    As you know, there are always going to be creepy kids who are going to make fun of your son. But from my experience with my daughters being in class with children who have different needs, that experience and knowledge tend to make them more excepting of children who have special needs.

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  9. April you are amazing. I love what Blake said that he was being watched over. I know and believe that to have happened. God was there for both of you. I am glad it went well.

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  10. That was a really good way to teach that to the children. Way to go.

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  11. ...and that's why you are Blake's Mom (and Dad). Because you are strong, brave and "totaly cool". ( Is that out of date now?)
    Keep sharing because sometimes in your busy life we don't hear all the touching and fun things. Love ya,
    Grandma T and Papa

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  12. I'm so happy to hear that your speaking went well. I'm hoping that the other parents respond in a caring manner.

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  13. It sounds like you did a wonderful job and I'm so glad Blake had such a positive experience.

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  14. April, what a beautiful experience. Thank you for sharing it.

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  15. I love that Blake felt Heavenly father watching over him. I truly do love him even if he is annoying sometimes. He is a wonderful caring brother to me and I really appriceate it. Thanks Blake for being your special you. :)
    Love your beautiful sister,
    Kaia

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  16. Kaia, I believe that you took the word beautiful because you respect your mom's ownership of gorgeous! Heavenly Father sent you first because he knew you would be the perfect big sister to Blake - and you are. And I love you for being your own special you! :)
    April, well done, as usual. You continue to amaze me.

    Love, Mom

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  17. Way to go April. You are awesome. What a great kid.

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  18. You wrote an amazing letter and I think every parent will take it to heart and discuss the situation and your son with their children. I don't have children, but I appreciate how kindly you've dealt with your son's classroom!!

    Blessings

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  19. again, kudos to you for being a proactive, protective but inclusive parent. it's inspiring, truly.

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  20. April, I have been catching your blog here and there and just love following your fun activities! I had to comment though because I wanted you to know that I admire your strength and motivation as a mother and your energy! I always looked up to you, and I hope you don't mind me checking in and seeing your great accomplishments. Way to go with Blake. He's lucky to have you!

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I heart comments! Just one rule that I'm sure your momma taught you...if you don't have anything nice to say...please don't say anything at all!

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