This blog was inspired by 31 for 21 & is about my wonderful family.

"As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible & trust God with the impossible." ~Ruth Bell Graham

"Never look down on someone, unless you're helping them up!"

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 4

Retard (r-tärd) 
v. re·tard·ed, re·tard·ing, re·tards v.tr.
To cause to move or proceed slowly; delay or impede.
To be delayed.
1. A slowing down or hindering of progress; a delay.
2. Music A slackening of tempo.
It seems like most members of society have no idea what the real definition of this word truly is!  Instead of using it correctly, as a verb or a noun, they are using it as an adjective.  If I had a quarter for how many times I've heard that word misused...well, let's say I wouldn't be blogging right now.  I hear "that's so retarded," "you're so retarded," & just simply "retard" more & more.  Most of the time, it's teenagers that misuse that word, BUT...I have heard many adults do so, too.  Either way, these people should be educated enough to know the definition.
Folks, it's high time we speak up.  We have to take a stand to educate the people who are ignorant to the correct terminology.  When we don't speak up, we miss an opportunity to open someone's heart & we failed our kids.  My family & friends know better.  I have explained my take on that word & every one is respectful enough not to use that word, period.  And they know that if we're out in public & that word is misused, that I'm about to gasp & educate that offender.  I know they'll call me every name in the book later, & that's okay.  Just don't disrespect my son.

My husband & my oldest son think a like.  They're wrong, but that's okay.  :)  They believe that it's okay for people to misuse that word, as long as they are NOT referring to Troy or people with 'dif'abilities.  And I am sure that many people have that mindset.  But, not me.  I see it like this.  When you misuse this word, as in the examples above, you are saying that what ever you're referencing is stupid.  Ignorant.  Dumb.  Medically, my son is referred to as mentally retarded.  And when using retarded in the correct context, he is.  He has a learning delay...DELAY.  Not the inability to learn, he just learns SOME things a little slower.  But when the word is used in slang, you are saying that my son is stupid!  Ignorant!  Dumb!  And nothing could be further than the truth.

 SPEAK UP!  Some people just need a wake up call.  They need some one to show them that they are using inappropriate language.  Sometimes it's hard to approach a group of people & call them out, but we have to.  It's my job as the mother of a child with Down syndrome to speak up.  Why?  One day, Troy will be out in public, by himself or with his peers, & someone will say that word.  My hope is that one day this word will be as taboo as the "N" word is...but we're far from that.  And if we don't speak up now, nothing will ever be done.  I hope that Troy never has to hear that word & God help anyone that ever calls him that word!  
So parents, I challenge you.  Talk to your children.  Whether they are 3 or 90.  Tell them how misuse of the "R" word hurts people.  You never know who is listening.  I tell my kids that God is always listening, to choose their words correctly.  But, you don't know if that lady in line at Taco Bell has a child at home with Autism & you just said the "R" word incorrectly in her presence.  Now her heart is broken & she is fighting back the tears, so she can't approach you.  Yes, that word is that powerful.  And your words did that to her.

Help me in my quest.  First, stop using that word incorrectly.  Choose another descriptive word.  There are a lot of words you can use to get your point across.  Second, teach your kids, your family, & your friends that misuse of that word is wrong & hurtful.  Lastly, speak up!  If you hear someone say that word out of context, explain that to them.  If we all do our part, we'll abolish the misuse of this nasty, hurtful word.

Show your support in erasing the misuse of "R" word by taking the pledge at: r-word.org 


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