Tell the Children the Truth: About America

There are many songs by the legendary Bob Marley which often brings me to tears. After hearing about Trump’s “Mount Rushmore” speech, one song, in particular, has occupied my mind space. The toward the end of the song Babylon System, from the album Survival, the phase “Tell the Children the Truth” repeats. Mr. Marley’s pleas to be honest with the children is still painful to hear, as I witness a “president” who refuses to tell the truth about America!

Have the heart to Tell the Children the Truth!

In his speech, Trump portrays this idea that schools are vilifying the heroes that built our country. However, I have witnessed the exact opposite. I have donated to many book projects for teachers, classrooms, and schools over the last couple of years. Looking at those books, I do not see “our heroes” being vilifying. Instead, I see our heroes becoming more inclusive.

“Our children are taught in school to hate their own country and that the men and women who built it were not heroes but that were villains.”

Trump, Mount Rushmore, July 03, 2020

When our teachers expose students to the US enslavement of Africans and their descendants, they teach that those Black Lives Mattered. They teach about men and women who literally built our country. Men and women who were literally vilified – not even recognized as human for a time!

When our teachers teach about the land stolen from the Native Americans, and the immigrants whose labor also built America, they teach about the truth that Trump and his followers would rather forget. The US was built by many, but greatly profited only a few. To keep that balance of imbalance, those who invested the most blood, sweat, and tears were made the enemy of the US. This is not hate speech, it is truth.

A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View

The history of America gives witness to the fact that wealth and power has always been more important than its people. There is a lot to be mad about when it comes to our history and the impact that it continues to have on so many today. If you are angry, make sure you are angry with a purpose! Seek knowledge. Have real conversations. Move with kindness. Have compassion. Tell the Truth. Do NOT just get MAD. Get MOTIVATED. The difference starts at home.

Get ready to make positive  moves!
Change in US starts with us!

Autism at the Movie Theater: A “Not Mad. Motivated.” Point of View

Today I head about an 8-year-old Autistic girl being mocked by a woman during a screening of Dumbo.

“You don’t bring a kid that goes ‘Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop,’ every other minute to the movie. . . I’m leaving. You ruined the movie.”

– unidentified woman according to abc13 Houston

The story, which was posted by abc13 Houston, inspired a social media user to seemingly sympathize with the mocker. As a parent of an Autistic 7-year-old, I would like to share my reaction to both the mocking and the comments raised by the third party.

“Can you please shut her up?”

– unidentified woman according to mother of 8-year-old (as seen on abc13 Houston)

How would you feel if someone approached you with these words about your child, niece, nephew, or any child under your supervision, especially one with special needs? Even if the child was completely in the wrong, which this child was not, approaching the wrong caregiver with this level of disrespect could have resulted in much more than a ‘ruined movie’. In most circumstances, you are better received when your words are kind and respectful.

We Pay a Lot of Money...

The one argument that was given in support of the unsatisfied moviegoer was that a lot of money is being spent at the movie theaters and ‘it’s no fun when you cannot enjoy the show’. Does this statement imply that my money is less valuable than the next person’s money because my child may be disruptive at times? If I decide to take my sons to the movie theater, I am also paying a lot of money! So much money that I prefer to attend the earliest viewing to save a few dollars on the four or five tickets we need to purchase to treat the whole family. We also buy, at a minimum, drinks and popcorn. If you feel that your movie is being ruined, speak to a theater representative versus allowing your words and actions to further ruin the movie for others. Maybe the theater supervisor would be willing to refund your money, or give you a voucher for a different viewing.

Maybe a Private Movie Would be Best.

The social media user continued with a “solution” by suggesting that “maybe a private movie would be best”. It sounds like the user could be referring to what has been labelled as “Sensory Friendly” movie showings, where the lights are typically turned up, the sounds are typically turn down, and getting up to dance, walk, shout or sing is acceptable. I think these types of initiatives are good efforts that more venues are starting to adopt, but the options are limited in terms of viewing times and movie titles. Plus, not all Autistic children/adults are created “sensory-equal”. For example, my son very much enjoys loud sounds and would be fine with the typical volume found at the theater.

A “Not Mad. Motivated.” Point of View

The Autism Logo for Not Mad. Motivated.

As a parent of an Autistic child, venturing outside of are normal routine is not taken lightly. I know that my son’s behaviors may cause negative reactions, stares, and comments but that does not mean that my family has earned exclusion from normal family activities. Isolation can be very dangerous. This is particularly true within the special needs community. As an outsider, please consider that your kindness can ‘heal’ but your rudeness can ‘kill’.

Instead of getting mad over the often self-regulated, self-soothing behaviors of a person with Autism or any other disability, decided to get motivated! Be motivated to be a more joyous person when you witness the authenticity of a child being a child or an adult being free of masking. Be motivated to provide an environment where all people being their innocent selves are excepted. Be motivated to encourage theaters and other venues to provide a more suitable variety of “Sensory Friendly” options. Be motivated to accept families and individuals, as they are, by recognizing that your acceptance of them is not only a Blessing to them but will also bring you pure joy – if only you are patient enough to recognize it.

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