Respecting Differences, a Conversation
by Kayla Aldrich, Read to Them staff
Hello, all, and happy Wednesday! We hope you’re enjoying your time with Granny Torrelli Makes Soup and that you’ve come to see its unforgettable cast as something like a family. Before we finish with Granny T on Friday, though, we wanted to have a sit-down and talk about one of the major elements of the book: channeling acceptance and being respectful of others differences.
No two people are alike. In some way or another, we are all different - you might have black hair and brown eyes, while your best friend has blonde hair and brown eyes; you may wear glasses, your friend may not. Rosie, for instance, reveals that her best friend, Bailey, is blind. He uses adaptive equipment like braille and recorded books in order to read. Bailey goes to a different school from Rosie and, while helping out in the kitchen, either Granny Torrelli or Rosie touches his hands to guide him.
But the bottom line is this: Rosie and Bailey both love spending time together. They love to cook, and they love Granny Torrelli’s company, and, as best friends, they love each other. Rosie and Bailey always support one another in unique ways, even if they might be a bit stubborn sometimes.
Some disabilities are pretty visible - someone who has muscular dystrophy, for instance, will likely use a wheelchair to help with mobility and someone who has lost a limb might have a prosthetic. However, not all disabilities are so visible. Some disabilities are considered hidden - like sleep and learning disorders, chronic pain, or depression.
See, people with special needs are different, but that’s not a bad thing.
It’s okay to ask about disabilities. In fact, it’s encouraged! By engaging in open dialogue, you are encouraging broader understanding and empathy. Maybe you don’t have all the answers, and that’s okay, too. Resources are available, including children’s books, kid’s shows, and an abundance of online sites dedicated to dismantling the stigma around special needs.
If you’re a parent having these conversations, it’s important to use respectful terminology. Also, you don’t need to go into a huge, rambling description - kids are naturally curious and simple answers are often the best route to go down. Encourage your child to condemn bullying and, if they happen to hurt someone’s feelings, teach your child to apologize for their actions and to learn from their error.
Take a leaf out of Rosie’s book: be helpful, be kind, and be open to listening to the experiences of others. Be courteous, inclusive and respectful, because you never know how your words might impact another.
Thank you for spending time with us today. We hope that if you take anything from this post, it’s that in a world that’s so full of cruelty, you can choose kindness and acceptance every time. Join us back here on Friday for our Reconnect and wrap up of Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, and, until then, all, be well and be kind to one another.