When People Are Different, Smile and Accept It

By Sophie Winik, Regular Contributor September 12, 2015

“Differences challenge assumptions.” ~Anne Wilson Schaef.

Have you ever gone on a tangent to someone about something and you suddenly get heated and passionate about what you were saying? Perhaps, in the midst of your conversation, you suddenly realized just how much you cared about the topic. When this happens, it’s almost like having an out-of-body experience where you’re looking at yourself talking passionately and think, “Wow, I had no idea I felt this strongly!”

It’s interesting to discover what drives our brains to talk with such strength in our voice.

Recently, I found myself talking to someone about an article I read that got me heated. The article was about a special needs teacher who chose to put an Autistic child face down in a trashcan. Think about that. Not just another child bully but a teacher, a special needs teacher. This enraged me. I was astounded and could not believe what I was reading. I felt like I had been stabbed in the gut. I felt helpless for the poor child and wished I could have magically entered through the written words and stopped this disgusting thing from happening.

The last part I remember reading was how the teacher was irritated at the child for screaming and crying. It was at that moment I could not carry on reading, as it seemed there would be no happy ending. All I could think about was this child, this little child who already has moments of feeling helpless, who doesn’t know what else to do but scream and cry. This poor child who wasn’t protected by the teacher. It really upset me.

I am a teacher, and I want to protect my students from anything bad happening. I want them to feel accepted and appreciated. I am embarrassed because of what this teacher has done.

There are so many aspects, so many things wrong with this story, but I think it’s important to move away from the hate of the situation and think about how to prevent this kind of behavior from happening again. I have a soft spot in my heart for autistic children. They are brave, they are strong, they are amazing, but, most importantly, they deserve to be in this world as much as anyone. Don’t judge them because they are different. Don’t treat them poorly because you don’t know them. Learn with them, love them, treat them with kindness, and be a smiling friend for them.


image via wordinspiration.wordpress.com

Children remember. They remember how people made them feel. They watch your actions, and if you treat people with kindness and respect, show that you care, teach that it’s okay to be different, they will listen and follow in your footsteps.

It’s okay to feel vulnerable and sometimes helpless, and maybe that’s how the teacher in the article was feeling, but regardless of how awful you might be feeling inside, treating someone horribly does not do anything but make you a bully. Do you want to be labeled that ugly word? Do you want people to be afraid of you and not come to you for help? I imagine you don’t. I imagine you want to feel loved and that you matter. The next time you feel stressed, helpless, or frustrated, think about how this child felt being dumped into a trashcan. Would you do that? Would you want to be the reason why a child is screaming? Check your behaviors when you feel these emotions. Think before you act. Think before you speak. Don’t bully someone because you don’t know what else to do.

Let's chat!

Have you ever been around someone completely different from you? How did you react? How can we learn to love people for their differences? Tell us below!

About Sophie

SOPHIE_WINIK_writer_bio.jpgSophie is a preschool teacher in Southern California. When she is not teaching the little ones she is writing stories about her experiences with bullying, with the hope that her words will help others stand up against bullying and be another voice to end the hate. Sophie is also an artist who loves to paint and draw and is studying to be an art therapist, specifically working with children. Check out her anti-bullying stories at kindrevolutioncampaign.wordpress.com 


Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.


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