Many years ago, when Becca was in her early teens, I led a group of adolescents with special needs in a group for “typical” kids at our church. My other children went so I wanted her to have the chance to participate. Evidently, a lot of other parents felt the same way as our group grew rather quickly. The evening consisted of Bible stories, verses, games, and social time. We did the verses and stories in our classroom and joined the rest of the kids for the rest of the time. It was a great way to practice inclusion.
We adapted the games for the kids with special needs when necessary. For example, in a running competition we would push people in wheelchairs as fast as we could as the group cheered them on.
One evening a new boy joined us. He was cognitively impaired and had some difficulty walking. Everyone welcomed him and he seemed to be really enjoying himself.
Then it came time for the games. One of the scheduled games was a relay. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for the new boy to run the race with any dignity. So, impulsively, I put him on my back – piggy back style – and ran the race…we didn’t win ( I am not an athlete🙂), but he loved it.
About midweek I received a call from the supervisor of the program. He wanted to talk to me about the relay, evidently someone had complained that the boy on my back had an “unfair advantage”! Seriously!?!?! It seemed fine that he had absolutely no chance to compete prior to that. Incredulous, I asked for a name. It was no surprise to me that the person wanted to remain anonymous. My response was, “When they want to give me their name, I will address their complaint but until then he will continue to ride piggyback in the relays.”
This is not meant to be a reflection on the church but on society at large. Giving someone the advantage when they have no other chance is not unfair, it is unselfish.
At Dutton Farm any mistake belongs to all of the staff, never to the Farmers.They will always feel success here, never failure. That’s one of the many things that makes Dutton Farm unique.
Please make plans to attend our annual Fashion Show on September 30 at the Royal Park Hotel. It is the highlight of the year for the Farmers! Hope to see you there!