Wheelchairs intrigue children. I can’t tell you how many little boys have walked over to me and ran their hands all around my big tires. I think they are imagining me as a giant match box car! I love the transparency of children.
I have had so many children come up to me and ask bluntly, “Why are you in a wheelchair?” I smile and talk to them. Depending on what I perceive is the personality of the child, I will say to the serious child something like “Well, I got a very bad sickness in my back and it caused my legs to stop working.” To the spunky child, I will say that my legs are very ornery and they will not do what I tell them to do anymore. Whatever I tell them, they always say quickly, “Oh” and they are off for the next adventure. Sometimes they will ask if they can push me and I always ask them if they have a drivers license. If I know the children well, I get out of my chair and I let them play in it. That is their favorite thing to do and they cannot wait for me to move! Their is one particular little girl that is a favorite of mine and I can barely get in the door of her house and talk to her Momma before she is asking me to please transfer and give her my chair. I love it.
Do you know what I love about these kids? They are just so real. They want to know so they ask. They get the answer and they accept it. They stare as I roll past them, and I stare back and wink. Then they smile and wave. They don’t offer platitudes, they don’t give me philosophies of why I am in this chair, they don’t dramatize, they don’t even really care that I am in a chair…and that is a good thing. They see me and talk to me.
Some parents, on the other hand, are horrified that their children are asking me these things. They grab them or hush them. They quickly move them out of the way although the aisle is 8 feet wide. They will turn their faces if they are staring. They teach them to not be real. They teach them to not talk to disabled people. They teach them that we apparently don’t know how to drive our wheelchairs and are going to run over them!
Mendy Brockman told me that when her children came to see her, they just wanted rides on her lap in the electric wheelchair. Here all the adults will worry how the children will handle their mother in a wheelchair, and the kids don’t even care. They just want to ride with Mommy. My children are the same way. Actually, they think it is cool that their Mom is in a chair. They told me it makes their mom different than all the other moms and they think that is pretty neat. I love them for that!
I believe that we teach our children everything. They come so fresh and pure and in love with all of God’s creation. They do not care what color of skin a person has or what language they speak as we have not taught them yet how to be prejudiced (even twisting Scripture to do so!) They do not care if another child has special needs, as we have not taught them yet how to treat the as “different”. They are so forgiving, as we have not taught them yet how to hold grudges. They let the past go, as we have not taught them yet how to be bitter. They enjoy their days, and their life is filled with laughter, as we have not taught them how to moan and groan and wish their life away. They love Jesus and accept Him with an open heart, as we have not taught them how to be faithless in doubting Him. They love people, as we have not yet taught them how to let people get on your nerves and to ignore the ones we don’t like. They want to help others and be a part of a solution as we have not yet taught them to mind their own business.
I desperately want to be real. Jesus was real. He knows the real me, and He loves me anyway. He knows the real you, and He loves you too. He looks beyond our conditions or circumstances, and He looks at us. He desires us to be pure and to love all of His creation. He does not teach us the things that we have taught our children….not always by our words, but by our actions. He came and taught us how to love….by His example.
I think that we would do much better in this life, if in these areas, we let the little children lead us.