Many years ago, in what certainly qualifies for practically another lifetime, a woman got a phone call from a kindergarten teacher. The teacher was very concerned about a young girl, one of her students. “I’m calling you because your daughter won’t play with the blocks we have in our classroom” stated the teacher. “All the other little girls play with them, so I think your daughter may have a learning disability.”
After getting over her momentary shock and regaining her composure, the mother answered: “My daughter has a huge and beautiful set of blocks at home and she plays with them constantly. I can hardly tear her away. But my daughter’s blocks are much nicer than the ones in your classroom. She prefers your play kitchen because she doesn’t have one of those at home. So, you see, I’m not worried about my daughter in the least!”
That little girl was me, of course. And now, I didn’t have any sort of learning disability. I have a way above average IQ! I remember the blocks at school, they were lightweight and beaten up, painted and re-painted in primary colors. I liked the colors, but I loved my block set at home. I still remember it. The blocks were delivered one day, in two big cardboard boxes–a gift from my father who just wanted to surprise my sister and I. The blocks were large, almost the size of a brick, almost too large for a small child to hold in just one hand. They were natural, blonde wood. They were smooth and cool to the touch. I used to love to look at the wood grain, sometimes tracking it with my finger. I never really built anything special, but I just loved to pile them up in unusual patterns, some triangles, some squares, some rectangles. They hardly made a sound when you placed one on top of the other unless you slapped them down. If I had those blocks today, I think they would really fuel my creativity! I have never forgotten them.
Today I got a phone call from a health care professional at my father’s assisted living facility. “Your father is shuffling. He says he is unsteady. I think he has Parkinson’s disease.”
I suppose I should have been more supportive of the diagnois, but how could this person know, just from looking at my father for a few minutes, what is wrong with him?
I thought of the story with the teacher, my mother, and the blocks.
“Maybe he does has Parkinsons,”I said, “But Dad also has a terrible head cold, his ears are stuffed, and they’ve been pumping him full of products with antihistimines and other things that could affect his balance. Furthermore, he fell recently and is afraid to take confident steps without a walker.” Could THAT be the problem, or at least part of it?
My point is: it is easy to judge someone for whom you have little knowledge and/or interest and/or respect…but you will be incorrect in your judgement.
Draw the conclusion yourself. Please share similar stories..I hate to think I”m writing this to the wind. Thanks