Why does my short stature and that of my children make you laugh?
Is it really that funny?
“As a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings . . . ” This verse reverberated in my head today as I and my children dealt with not one, but three separate incidents with people who mocked, laughed, shouted out, and video taped us.
I remember my mom telling the story of the Little Red Hen during our German youth meetings. The story is about a red hen who gives birth to a brood of chicks. Sadly, a fire sweeps through the country side and the farm upon which they live is engulfed in the fire. Later, while surveying the fire damage the farmer notices this thick black ball of something that’s totally unrecognizable. He takes his foot and kicks over the black charred ball and out comes the Little Red Hen’s brood of chicks. The mother hen had gathered her chicks as the fire approached and she took the pain of the flames thus sacrificing her life for her chicks.
The story is a depiction of what Jesus Christ did for us. He spread out His hands and took the punishment for our sin so that our lives would be spared from eternal separation from Him and we could have life . . . eternal life with Him.
I wasn’t laying down my life today, nor was I ever in danger of losing it. However, something within me did die . . . a little. All my life I have dealt with the stares, name calling, and—at times—mean, derogatory slurs. Today was different because I was with my “chicks”—my babies. I can’t wrap my head around why it’s so important to name call, video tape and mock us because of our dwarfism. What is so important about taking our picture and texting it to your friend? What is it about my short stature that makes people yell, “Hey, Mom, look at the midget!” and why does that mom just laugh along with her son and walk away. Why would a girl stand beside me and my kids snapping pictures, then cover her mouth because she’s laughing so hard at the fact that she’d accomplished to take our picture as she walked away briskly. Why had the parents of the two young girls not educated them that snapping our picture as we walked into the lobby of a store, all the while laughing, isn’t respectful. Why does my short stature and that of my children make you laugh? Is it really that funny?
The world screams about tolerance and yet, as a dwarf, I and my children aren’t afforded this tolerance. If I were African-American the NAACP would be calling their lawyers, if I were in a wheel chair the NDRN would be calling a press conference, and if I were in the LGBT community the American Civil Liberties Union would have me booked on every major network to report it. However, I am a dwarf, little person, a mom, wife, sister and I am not afford the right of privacy, tolerance, or just plain good manners.
I held back tears today wishing I had wings of steel that I could have spread across my kids just to shield them from this lack of tolerance and ignorance. I couldn’t shield them, or close their ears to those ugly words or even answer their questions of, “Why Mom?” How do you explain it?
Basically, there is no explanation for their actions. However, I tell my children we can’t control others, but we can control our response and our attitude. I do my best to educate through my blog, the spoken word, or just smile and walk away. I pray that one day those of us who have been chosen by God to live out our days on this earth with dwarfism will be able to enjoy the kindness, courtesy, and respect that all of who’ve been given the breath of life deserve.
If you know a principle, teacher, or church youth leader that would welcome us to come speak, take questions, and educate about dwarfism please pass on my contact information. We can’t change the whole world’s preconceived ideas or actions towards those with dwarfism, but we can certainly try to change those around us.