by Lauren Fritz
about the author:
Lauren Fritz has two sons with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. She is a fulltime private practice therapist and also cares for her sons.
A Barrier to Friendships
My fifteen-year-old son and I spent the weekend with a whole lotta kids. It was a retreat, with some kids we knew, and many we didn’t. Now that the weekend is over, something lingers in my heart. Overall, the weekend was a success. My son told my in-laws tonight that he would want to go back. I am glad for him.
Yet I noticed and experienced something that happens each time we encounter a new setting. None of the kids came near my son in his wheelchair. The adults were very attentive to be sure we had what we needed. Even the kids my son knew steered clear.
About half-way through the weekend, I finally asked some of them why they were not interacting with him. I explained that he probably did not want to spend the whole weekend with his mom.
That was all it took.
These kids, who have come to know how to be with Jake, activated themselves and were able to step into this identity with him in this new setting. It was like they needed permission to move past the immobilization. I am struck, wondering what that permission is in each one of us that allows us to live in accordance with who we wish to be, rather than to be blocked by hesitation and apathy.
I think of settings I have been part of where bravery within kindness has been promoted. And in contrast, where fear, separation or competition have instead taken a stranglehold over the heart space.
I think of these kids with my son, and how they needed to activate something that was within them already, something I have seen before. I watched how the simple invitation to do so was relieving to them. It certainly was to me, and my kid.
How do we live in that space of brave, kind people? How do we uplift our children to live alongside us in this compassion?
The potential to be open or closed to every human being is in all of us. The invitation is right there… sitting in the very real potential of our grasp… to grab hold and become… who our hearts know we can be.