Do I make you proud?
My church has an hour set aside every Sunday for teaching the children. It’s called Primary. In this hour the children are given the church’s teachings in its most basic form. One of the activities during Primary hour is singing from the Children’s Songbook; a collection of songs specifically selected for Primary. Most of the songs are simple hymns to God, but a number of them are there just because they’re cute. A popular one is about blossoms growing on an apricot tree. Another song relates the tragic melting of a snowman.
I always felt weird about having to sing those songs. They seemed out of place. None of the adults would sing them outside of Primary. I didn’t like being forced to live in their artificial world filled with construction paper and glue sticks. Just because I was a child didn’t mean I wanted to be cute.
At what point do you stop treating a child like a child? Is it when they stop being cute? Do they have to prove themselves first before being regarded as equals? Or maybe we shouldn’t treat anyone like a child at all?
How we view other people needs to mature as we get older. If we allow ourselves only one line of thinking, then we have stunted our ability to observe the world in real time. Every group of people has its own pride whether we see it or not. It is dishonorable to not recognize a people’s honor.
I belong to a number of different groups. I’m a proud American. I’m a fervent believer in God. I’m a member of the great Meldrum family. Shame on anyone who tries to make me feel lesser for being any of these things. People have treated me as lesser for having a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. Even those who struggle with social situations have their honor. It would be foolish to deny me proper respect. You can’t see the worth you don’t acknowledge.
People’s true worth is there if you are willing to recognize it. I don’t treat people according to which group they are in. I treat them like people. Age, race, and gender does not grant honor to anyone. The only honor these groups can claim is because of the individuals who represented themselves well within the group. Honor by association is only worth so much.
I don’t know when people will finally recognize my worth. I’ve worked hard to live well according to my own will. If I’m the only one who knows what I’m all about, then so be it. Sometimes we must carry on without receiving our due reward. That’s fine with me. I’ve never needed anyone’s permission to be great.