The Wheelchair Advantage


Too quick to see disadvantage; Removing the Stumbling Block

At our first night’s seder, my 11-year-old daughter declared her desire to find the afikomen. You see, she informed me, this would be her only chance.

Puzzled, I asked why. After all, we were heading to a friend’s home for the second night, and there would most certainly be an afikomen hunt there, as well.

(Back story: The friends we celebrate Passover with have one son, Josh, who has Cerebral Palsy. I have written about him and my children’s relationship with him before. Our families have been celebrating second seder together for the past few years.)
 
So I asked my daughter why she believed she would have only one chance to find the afikomen.

“Because,” she said, “Josh always finds it.”

Hmm… “Really?”

“Yes. He always finds it. Because he has an advantage. He has wheels.”

And just like that I was clearly reminded of the importance and power of teaching our children to be accepting of disabilities.

Here’s what my daughter didn’t say:
“It’s not fair; Josh always wins because he’s in a wheelchair.”
“Josh will win; he always wins because his dad pushes him.”
“Josh wins because he gets help.”
Nope. Josh wins because he has the advantage of wheels.

We must teach all of our children to see the world through this lens. We live in a society that is far too quick to see disadvantage. If we are not deliberate, we will miss out on discovering the unique qualities that each of us possesses. 

Josh, in his wheelchair, with Cerebral Palsy and complicated medical issues, has an advantage.

Yes, yes he does.

This story originally ran on Kveller on April 17, 2014
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