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Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.

Proverbs 10:17

Last Friday I wrote about the myth about human trafficking and the Super Bowl.  It was my response after reading this by this “health” blogger.  The blogger and I have had our philosophical differences in the past, but to me, this was pretty cut and dry.  I left a few comments with links to groups that are in the trenches of human trafficking, pointing out that they, these advocacy groups for the victims of human trafficking, were saying that this myth was hurting, not helping, the victims of this horrible crime.

Her response?  Nothing.

I pointed out that some of the very sources she linked to at the bottom of her post had altered their opinions on the matter, so shouldn’t she?

Nothing.

The very people she is claiming to care so much about are asking her to change her stance and her response is…silence.  Now, I don’t doubt that this blogger’s heart is in the right place, but when you let pride overwhelm what is right, what does that say about you and everything else you supposedly stand for?  What does that say about all of the “out of the box” remedies and life style choices (some of which are brilliant) she advocates for?  If she can’t go back and admit she is wrong on something like human trafficking, how can we trust that the health choices she advocates for haven’t been debunked or even classified as unsafe?

Pride…it can make you do stupid things.

***

The other day fitness model and personal trainer Bella Falconi posted this on her Instagram Feed:

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Inspiring, right?  I used to feel the same way until someone pointed out to me years ago that although everyone does in fact have the same 24 hour every day, some must work 2 or 3 jobs, through no fault of their own other than life, just to put a roof over their children’s head and food in their children’s stomachs.  After a 16 hour day, as a parent, would you choose to go work out or spend some quality time with your children?  I said as much in the comments section, noting that perhaps until one is a parent, one cannot understand.  I can’t actually tell you exactly what I said because Bella Falconi’s response was to delete and block.  Now granted, this wasn’t the first time I had called her out on something.  It was the second.  The first was when she used the term “retard” in a derogatory manner.  Then, just like the blogger above, the response was silence.  At 27, this may simply be the immaturity of youth or that she has lived in the bubble of her success for too long.  I don’t know her, so I can’t say.  What I can say is that the response, much like the one above, seems to be rooted in pride.

***

A few month ago, Autism Speaks held a “March on Washington” event.  Leading up to it, Suzanne Wright wrote her now famous op-ed about lost children, broken families and cities build for autistic people.  As Autism Speaks patted itself on the back with a lavish party in DC complete with a Broadway review, thousands of autistic individuals and their families tried to make it clear to Suzanne and Autism Speaks that in order to truly speak for autistic people, the organization needed to let those people actually speak…but more importantly, Autism Speaks needed to listen.

The response?  Nothing.  Autism Speaks continues to believe that autistic individuals should not have a voice in how the world’s largest autism advocacy group operates.  One doesn’t have to have a Ph.D. to see just how wrong this is.

***

This all led me to posting this the other day:

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And maybe that is what it comes down to.  Perhaps Sarah, Bella and Suzanne all feel that admitting that they are wrong on something will be perceived as a sign of weakness.  Perhaps they are afraid that if they admit they are wrong on something that people will call into question everything that has come before.  I believe the exact opposite to be true, because if you are willing to admit that you make mistakes, it shows me that you actually care about what you are putting forth; that at some point, you will go back and double-check and triple-check your work; that if someone says, “hmm. I don’t know about that…”, you’ll go back, see if there are new facts or new science either backing or refuting what you say, and you will act appropriately.

Admitting you are wrong, when you are wrong, is a sign of strength.  As my friend Allissa said, “Knowledge + Humility = Power”.

***

Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
Proverbs 10:17
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Life Out of Focus 001

Parenting can be tough…any kind of parenting.  We worry about their safety, their development, their…well, everything.  When I look at Katie I worry, but I know that it’s the same worry that every loving mom or dad feels for their kiddo.

But for those of us with special needs kids, sometimes some moments can be especially hard.  The other day while walking Brooke to school, we fell in behind a couple of girls in her grade.  They were chatting away about this and that.  One turned to ask why I was wearing shorts while it was snowing and so cold.  I laughed.  Meanwhile Brooke was running through a few of her morning scripts.  The girls went back to their conversation and Brooke continued with he scripts.

That’s when it really hit me (for like the millionth time) just how big the gap between Brooke and her classmates is and, even harder to take, the fact that there was no exchange whatsoever between these two girls and my daughter…not a “hey”, not a “hi”, not even a nod of acknowledgement.  One of the girls had had a few play dates with Brooke over the years, and is one of the nicer, sweeter kids in her grade, but on that day there was nothing.  It wasn’t intentional or mean-spirited; it wasn’t an active blindness, but it was a blindness nonetheless.  It was as if she and her friend didn’t see Brooke at all.

Brooke herself didn’t seem to notice or care; she simply pushed on with her morning scripts.  I, on the other hand, was devastated.

With Middle School looming not so far away, and then High School and beyond, I am having a harder and harder time imagining what Brooke’s adult life will be like.  I used to be able to see it.  It was as clear as HD TV in my mind; but with each passing year, month, week, day…the picture loses a little focus and what I see in my mind becomes a little more foggy, a little more murky, a little more unclear.

I did find some hope this past weekend.  I was lucky enough to be invited to a dinner of young autistic adults.  Some were more talkative than others.  I chatted with several people on varying topics.  Most importantly though, Brooke seemed comfortable with the people there.  They all acknowledged her presence – they all saw her (and she saw them).

So as cloudy and as murky as my images of the future may be, it is comforting to know that out there in the real world are autistic people who support each other, cheer for each other, but most importantly, see each other.  As long as I know that Brooke will have that when she grows up, I can live with the picture in my head being a bit out of focus.

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