( Intermediate Level )
My brother Samuel often received stares from others when we were out in public. People concluded there was something different about him and shied away.
Many made the assumption that mom must have used alcohol or drugs when she was pregnant with him. This is not the case at all. Sam was born with an intellectual disability.
In the past, this was dubbed mental retardation, bringing much hurtful slang towards the ones with these disabilities. These slangs upset my mom terribly.
“My son is just like all others” she argued. “He laughs. plays and does everything your child does. It may take him a little longer to understand but he eventually does.”
I always protected my brother when we were at school. We were 3 grades apart from one another and thankfully, we are at the same school. He always knew where to look for me after school . We would meet up and walk home together.
Some days he would have to wait for me. I was the editor of the school’s newspaper and sometimes we had a short meeting after school. He never minded. He always found something to keep him busy as he waited.
As the school year pressed on, Samuel was more quiet than usual. He was never really quiet around me as he was with strangers. I chuckled somedays as he chattered on about his day . It was hard to keep up with what he was talking about.
“Hey Sam, why are you so quiet? Something bothering you? I asked. Samuel looked up at him “No.” I knew this was not true. Something was. In his own time he would tell me.
I guess a week or so had passed and Samuel wasn’t waiting for me in his usual spot after school. I waited for a few minutes and began to look for him.
I asked a few teachers, when I passed them in the hall, “Have you seen my brother?” and each resounded a “No, they hadn’t.”
It was the last place I looked where I found him. He was huddled up next to the bleachers in the gym. He was covering his head and you could hear him sobbing.
I yelled out, “Sam, what’s wrong?” He looked up at me and you could see a mark on his face which obviously looked as if he was hit. Tears running down his cheeks.
“A bunch of boys kept pushing me around and calling me a retard. I tried to leave but they kept following me. I came in here and one hit me.” I was so angry at this point. I helped him to his feet and wiped off his face. His brother looked at him, ” Am I a …retard?”
“Don’t be silly Sam. You are you. Things in life are a little more difficult for you and may take you longer to do but you are not a retard. Now let’s go home.”
The brothers arrived home and explained everything to their mother. Of course she immediately called the school to alert them on what happened to her son.
A couple of weeks had passed and Samuel was back to himself. The school authorities suspended the students for the rest of the school year for what they did to my brother. I was happy the school took this step towards this type of bullying but I wanted others to know what I felt.
I had asked the principal if I could publish an article, in our school newspaper, regarding this incident. He agreed to allow as long as he approved the contents before it went to publication.
I began writing right away and finished so it could go out in our monthly newspaper. I immediately took it to our principal for him to read the next day.
I knocked on his door and entered. “I have finished my article. Can you read it over so I can make sure it gets published?”
He handed his heartfelt article to the principal and he began to read.
Most of you know who my brother Samuel is but do you know him? Have you ever stopped to say hello or have a conversation with him?
Let me tell you about my brother Sam. He is the kindest person I know. He finds good in everything and has the purest heart. If he is capable he would do anything for you.
He has an innocence about him that many do not have. He never judges anyone nor says anything bad about anyone. This is more than I can say about most, including myself.
When my brother was born, I was three, I had no idea of his disability nor do I really see one now. He is my brother. We had our fights growing up but we also shared secrets.
We enjoy playing sports and watching scary movies on TV, even though Mom gets mad at us because we do not go to sleep afterwards.
Does any of this sound different from you?
I do not want to go into details but when Samuel was tormented and hurt by fellow classmates it saddened me more than it made me mad. How could a person do this to another? How could they do this without really knowing Samuel?
Next time you happen to pass my brother in the hallway, why don’t you say hello to him. Get to know him. You will discover what I have about him. He is the best person I know and has taught me a lot. I am proud he is my brother.
Editor / Samuel’s brother
The principal finished the article and handed it back to Caleb. “You did a wonderful job with this. Absolutely, send this to print.”
The newspaper came out and Caleb took two copies home with him. He shared one with his Mom and the other with Samuel. He knew Samuel wouldn’t be able to read it so he read the article to him.
As Caleb finished the article and looked up, Samuel leaned in with a bear hug. “I love you too!”
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Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen
Thoughts From Angel:
Is this behavior due to the lack of understanding? Who is to blame for such actions? Is it the parents? The education system?
If you appreciate what I do please support:
stares – noun: a long fixed look at someone or something
assumption – noun: accepted as true without proof
concluded – verb: arrive at a judgement
shied – verb: avoid
intellectual disability – noun: limits to a person’s ability to learn at an expected level and function in daily life
dubbed – verb: to give an unofficial name or nickname
slang – noun: very informal words or language used mostly by the younger generation
pressed on – phrasal verb: to continue moving forward in a forceful or steady way
chuckled – verb: laugh quietly
chattered – verb: rapid talking
resounded – verb: echo
huddled up – adjective: to sit in a bent position with your arms and legs close to your body
bleachers – noun: bench seat at a sports arena or gym
sobbing – noun: noisy crying
suspended – verb: to stop someone from going to school whether temporarily or permanently
publication – noun: the act of making an article available for others to read
heartfelt – adjective: sincere
innocence – noun: being innocent
tormented – adjective: physical or mental suffering
bear hug – noun: tight embrace
Question ( s ):
Do you find yourself staring at someone who looks different? Maybe dressed differently or in a wheelchair?
Why do you think we do this?