March 13, 2007


My friend Shoo's mom worked at a State Mental hospital. This was an mysterious set of buildings with a high fence and a large greenbelt (and golf course) between the fence and the campus. I went there once to help Shoo with a boy scout project and I recall being very ill at ease with the people there. I have some guilt around my feelings towards them, in retrospect, at the same time it was my first encounter with the 'mentally challanged' and I really did not have any idea what to expect.

I did learn that you needed to remove the cupcake papers before passing out the cupcakes and you can expect to get hugged.

I wonder if there was some social paradigm that certain people needed to be isolated or removed from view or if that concept came after the idea of having a ' safe place' for 'those' people.

Tina's works in a classroom with challanged kids and they have them participate in the various classrooms as much as they can. So you have a school full of kids that are accepting of certain truths of life. Seperation and isolation leads to lack of tolerance, and is caused by lack of understanding.

1 comment:

Tina said...

Volunteering is stressed in our school. The way the typical kids help out: Sweep the rocks off the pavement so the wheelchairs run smoother, push wheelchairs at recess, help bring the kids back to class after recess, and read to the kids in our classroom. A number of them come to "play" at their regular recess when our kids are stuck in the room because of bad weather.

It's a good thing.