Local Heart, Global Soul

October 7, 2017

Working Towards Real Growth… Not Just That In Trees.

Filed under: BREDA,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This blog is all about noticing the little things, the details of my daily life and surroundings.

I seem to always notice the things that so many others walk by, possibly because I walk the slowest but more probably because I am a detail fanatic; a trait I carried long before my accident.

I am always interested in small signs, plaques, maps, information boards and the like, and as usual I was bringing up the rear of our group, lingering reading several new “finds” of this ilk.

I will start with the smallest one which was located next to a small tree.

The reason for that quickly became apparent: this commemorated the planting of an “Inclusieboom” (Inclusion Tree).

Translated into English the sign reads: ” Inclusion Tree, Planted in November 2001 by the Catholic Disability Society together with the local community.

The planters of the “inclusion tree” wish to emphasize /reinforce that people with disabilities are also part of the community. The coexistence / working together of people with and without disabilities must grow. This is what this tree symbolizes.”

I am not certain how planting trees helps handicapped and non-handicapped people grow together on a practical level, although I wholeheartedly endorse the sentiment. I’d personally like to see inclusion and awareness done better, with things like mandatory sign language classes and exams in schools, kids having to “live the life” of someone in a wheelchair, sight impaired etc for the bare minimum of a day each so that they can learn just how difficult it is to negotiate modern life.

Not only might they better understand the difficulties but all kids should also learn that there is a human being behind the disability who deserves respect, dignity and understanding. All kids should learn that people who are “different” still have feelings, hurt when they are called names, bullied, or even just constantly stared at. In fact I would go so far as to say that in an ideal world, part of every kids education should be to help out disabled and special needs kids on a regular basis, to get to know these people as individuals with personalities, feelings and dreams just as they have. Maybe then we could raise a more caring society and if that happened, that would be real growth.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kiwi’s note: apologies for only seeing that this post was missing at the very end of the day, my fuddled brain put this into the schedule with the wrong date on it and somehow it completely missed my earlier double-check. On the upside I suppose that means you get to have a double dose the next day!

2 Comments »

  1. I, too, totally endorse the sentiment behind the “Inclusion Tree”. That said, I also totally agree with your thoughts on the importance of looking beyond the disability and seeing the person instead. As a retired special needs pediatric nurse, this has always been one of my goals. I’ve come to like the term “differently-abled” as opposed to “disabled”. Thank-you for sharing this post about something so close to my heart.

    Comment by Ellen — October 8, 2017 @ 1:28 am | Reply

    • Ellen,
      I’m delighted that this post was special to you. Little Mr had a 4 year friendship with a best buddy who was both slightly mentally and a lot physically “different-abled”. They keep in touch semi regularly now that this friend now lives back in the USA. They just “clicked’ from the beginning and the disabilities were never an issue because he could see past them and see the wonderful personality of his friend instead. Time difference and homework loads make things harder now but they Face-Time sometimes, write letters and post cards and generally keep in touch. Sharing a classroom meant that the kids in his class learned to adjust to this sweet little boys needs and speed (or lack of speed) and they always made sure that he had a special role in the class play, Christmas show etc. In fact he was very often the star of the show!
      We miss the family now that they have gone… we keep in touch with the rest of the family too but of course it’s not the same long distance as it is face to face. Little Mr learnt a lot from his friend: patience, perseverance, putting up with pain and discomfort, that people have limits and that he is lucky to have been born healthy and without the limitations his friend has so he doesn’t have to be in hospital, have all the operations, physio and all the other stuff. He learns to remember to think of others and to be grateful (on occasion, he’s a kid after all lol!). I am sure you must have seen both tales of heartache and heroism in the kids you worked with, it’s a tough job so hats off to you, I know I could not do it.

      Comment by kiwidutch — October 9, 2017 @ 10:02 pm | Reply


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