It's the day that the campaign called "spread the word to end the word" has chosen as their annual day of awareness.
What word, you ask?
It's all over facebook today... everyone is writing wonderfully eloquent blog posts about how awful it is to use that word and any form of that word (like retarded, tard, etc).
I agree that the word is hurtful and makes me feel sad. But I'm not eloquent in explaining why. I'm not one of those bloggers who is going to get posted and reposted all over facebook because I said something fabulous or life changing or even slightly meaningful.
I'm just a mom with a kid with Down Syndrome who suddenly feels like throwing up whenever I hear someone use the word retarded. The nausea doesn't last long tho, it quickly turns to anger... then fear.
I'm scared of speaking up and being laughed at, or told I'm being silly or... the worst one... being told they weren't talking about Josh and didn't mean anything toward the population of people who actually DO carry a diagnosis of mental retardation.
Of course you didn't mean anything. I understand.
Jon says he hears it every day at work. The kids hear it every day at school. The school is more acceptable somehow... they are just kids... but Jon works with other adults. I was shocked to hear how often adults use this word and think it's okay. It's as common as the word silly, I'm told. Don't misunderstand, I feel like kicking the kid in the shin when I hear one of them say it (should I admit that publically?)... but again, they ARE kids. They need to be taught.
I have read some great blog posts today and many of them have shared my heart. Many moms have inspired me to be more brave, but I'm just not sure I have it in me.
This is where you come in. You can help.
Since I have shared my thoughts here, I ask that you simply think about this. Take my heart into consideration the next time that word almost slips from your mouth. Think about Josh and the countless others who carry a diagnosis of mental retardation. It's demeaning and hurtful... and it makes them sad and feel like they don't matter.
And then, if you feel led, share it with someone else. If I tell you and you tell someone and that someone tells another person... well, we might make a difference after all.
That's all I got, folks. It's far from eloquent or preachy or anything worthy of sharing all over facebook... it's just my heart.
Because Josh matters.
(so when I previewed this post, the link wasn't highlighted...i'm not sure if that's because i was previewing or if it's because i don't really know what i'm doing... either way, I encourage you to google and find out more. you'll be inspired too, i promise.)