On the field this morning at Boo’s soccer game.
He’s the one on the far right with the ball.
Maybe this is what we need, I thought, as I stood on the sidelines watching my son’s soccer game this morning. Programs like this one which pairs kids with disabilities – autism, Down Syndrome, everyone’s a player – with older kids who volunteer as “buddies.”
The buddies appear to be high school kids, adults, boys, girls – anyone who is compelled and compassionate enough to give up an hour of their Saturday to help a kid with a disability play soccer. They’re coaches, they’re the players’ biggest fans, applauding, cheering.
Maybe more programs like this are what we need, I thought. It’s only in getting to know a person as a individual that we begin to understand them, regardless of whether that person has a developmental or intellectual challenge, or if they are gay, or transgender, or a different race, or whatever seems so different and foreign in our worlds.
What if every kid who felt different or misunderstood – regardless of the reason – had a buddy, I wondered. Just one person to support them unconditionally. Maybe that would help in making a difference.
“No, no, no,” I heard another parent say to their child, interrupting my thoughts. “Remember, boys give each other high-fives, not hugs.”
Yes, this is a step in the right direction, I thought, watching the kids kick the soccer ball down a straight line. But there’s still such a long way to go.
copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.