Sunday, June 24, 2012

She Sincerely and Innocently Asked

I am the admin for our Ministry to Internationals and on Friday the Iranian Fellowship held a big dinner. I've been planning and preparing for this for weeks and I must say I'm thankful it's over. I worked 14 hours and with help from amazing volunteers, served more than 250 people. It was a long but successful day.

But that's not what I want to tell you about. We had two serving lines and an old friend that I hadn't seen in years came into my line. It was so good to see her and I could tell she felt the same.

After the event she found me again and introduced me to her friend. (Can't remember his name right now.) E and I talked about work and our kids. We counted the years since our last visit.

Then she asked it, "How's your Down Syndrome daughter?"

I was a little surprised at how much it bothered me. There's really nothing wrong with it except she didn't put People First. E doesn't have children who have special needs so I know it was asked with complete sincerity. I didn't say anything about it to her but for some reason I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

Five years ago I wouldn't have thought anything about it. Since reading all of your blogs though, I've come to learn about People First Language. It really is important to remember that they aren't their diagnosis. I'm not a congenital ptosis person. I'm a person who has... ptosis.

Mary is a person who has....

Johnny is a person who....

Beth is a person....

6 comments:

Jennifer Scott said...

I understand. I have gotten quite defensive since Sean was born about it too.

Kristin said...

It'a amazing how after you hear about people first language it makes so much sense, but before hearing about it, you would never think such a thing was out of the ordinary.

Caz said...

Beth is a person.
This could be me not understanding the context, but does the same apply to Internationals? Would Mnistry to International People be more ...inclusive? It sounds interesting, anyway, what you are doing there. I'd love to have a clearer picture of it.

Jenny said...

I feel the exact same way...Beth is not a "Down syndrome person"...She is not a "Downs" she is Beth...And she deserves to just be called by her name like every one else.

Becky said...

Yes, people first language is so important....thanks for sharing this post. What makes it tough is you know the person is not doing with any intention to offend at all....that is why education is the key!

Nan said...

my what? that one would drive me nuts! OH! You mean Beth? Well Beth . . . etc...