This article is a culmination of thoughts that have been running through my head and driving me crazy. I guess I have to admit it is a result of watching a program on channel 3.
After I told the gas attendant I was using channel 3 when I went to pay for my gas one day, I decided I had better check it out and see what was on the actual channel. For all I knew when I told her that it could have been a naughty station. Luckily for me, it wasn’t, and I have watched channel 3 often.
One night I was watching a program that never seems to leave my mind. It was broadcast from a small church in southern Kentucky. On the program, the pastor and a man who had cerebral palsy sang the song, “I Can’t Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand.”
This was one of the most touching things I have ever seen. The cerebral palsy man sang by using his hands and feet. He would pat his feet to sing “walk” and so forth. When the song was finished, there was not a dry eye in the audience. My eyes were also wet as I wept.
This man showed so much love and emphasis in the song, even though he spoke not a word, using only his hands and legs. You could even tell he was so happy and so in love with his God. He realized how many times God had held his hand in his life, I am sure. I thought how wonderful it would be in our world if we all had the same respect.
Here was a man who had every reason in the world to be sad but all it appeared he wanted to do was witness his love for others and the Lord. I was also so impressed to think how that church loved him, enough that it didn’t matter that his body was twisted and crippled, and enough to have him on television to showcase him to the world.
I couldn’t help but think of my friend, Virgil Everman, who also had cerebral palsy and was one of the best witnesses of faith in our community. He would go through the neighborhood singing hymns he had learned in church and at his mother’s knee.
Then, recently on TV I saw a teacher who had been voted as teacher of the year. Her name is Danielle Geco. Danielle is a teacher to disabled children in New York. I was so impressed to learn that she had organized a basketball team specifically for the disabled children. All of the cheerleaders were also disabled.
One of the students said he had always wanted to run through the hoop like he had seen other athletes do but never thought he would get to do it. The whole community supports those kids and comes out to their games. As a result, they have improved in so many other ways, physically and mentally. They gained confidence they probably would have never gotten without this teacher.
It got me to thinking how important our STRIDE program is to our county. At least we have begun to give some respect to the disabled, who have this handicap through nothing they did.
I have to admit, I do not think our school system does enough to protect our disabled students. For one thing, I feel there should be enough people hired to teach specifically to these students. This would be to the benefit of all students, because those who could go ahead in class would not have to wait on a student needing extra attention.
So many times, the disabled children get moved on to another class whether they know how to read or do the work or not. These kids deserve better. I believe that within every class where there is a child considered to be disabled, there should be an assistant teacher or a teacher specializing in that field. It would even be great to have a school just for the disabled children in the county. These kids need one-on-one care.
So many of the children with handicaps are ridiculed and called names, resulting in misbehavior in class.
If it never gets to the one-on-one degree of care in Clark County, the school system should at least be sure to teach students acceptance of others who may be different. This teaching is as important as the other studies and should begin in kindergarten.
After all, none of us could walk without someone holding our hands.