Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What Jaycee Brings Out

Over the years, I have found that Jaycee brings out the best and the worst in people. With children, there are immediately some who respond to her with smug looks, rudeness, and intolerance. Maybe they use mean language with her and maybe they just ignore her. These children don't know how to respond to a nonverbal child who looks a little different and does things a little different. Perhaps, these children are stuck up. Maybe they have never been around someone with a disability. Maybe they don't understand why she is like she is and she confuses them. For whatever reason, Jaycee can bring out the worst behavior in some children.

Then there are the children who are drawn to Jaycee out of love and care. They choose to sit by Jaycee, hold her hand, or give her hugs. They ask questions about how she communicates and what her favorite things are. They see her as a person. At church, these children have requested prayer for her so that she will have the ability to speak. Perhaps these children have a family member with a disability. Perhaps, they just have an innate ability to take an interest in people that some would ignore. Maybe, their parents have spent time talking to them about children who are different. Whatever the reason, Jaycee brings out the best in these children.

At Bible school last week, there were a few girls who took an interest in Jaycee. They offered to feed Jaycee her cupcake, even though she was capable of feeding herself. They took Jaycee to the bathroom for me and escorted her around the church. They wanted to be on her team for the games and offered their help to her so that she could participate. These girls asked me where she went to school, what signs she knew, and other questions about her life. It was wonderful to observe children giving Jaycee friendship and love that she desperately craves. She signed "friend" every night when they left church and cried.

I don't know what makes some children react the way they do to Jaycee. I try very hard to not look down upon the children who mistreat Jaycee. After all, I was never the child who tried to befriend a child with special needs. I didn't know how to approach them or interact with them. I wasn't mean but I didn't try to be nice. So instead of focusing on the children who don't make an effort with Jaycee, I try to focus on the ones who do. I am thankful that she has peers who want to engage with her. I admire these children. I see the gentle spirit they have inside of them. It is a gift from God.

Jaycee (girl in glasses in the center) praying at Bible school with her peers.

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