I wrote before about my friend, whose son is going through travails somewhat akin to Kt’s. He and his wife are of course continuing to deal with their son’s illness. Recently they’ve been communicating with the school about the approaching school year. One teacher in particular has always been somewhat less than understanding, and recently emailed, in part:
>I know he has been a handful.
My friend responded with the following:
We agree with you that his illness is indeed a handful. In fact, his illness is life threatening! However, he is not a handful. He is actually one of the most well-meaning and courageous individuals that we know. In the face of absolute terror and panic attacks he works so hard to stay safe, composed, and rational. When the illness overtakes him and he gets knocked down he gets back up. We are so proud of him and could share more examples, not just from us as parents but from his friends all along the way. This perspective, and the distinction between him and the illness, is critical in terms of all of us choosing words and actions that help him.
I immediately wrote back, “Good point”; after rereading, I was compelled to update that to “AWESOME point”.
I’m not sure I can say anything that will add more to his powerful words, except to relate it back to my earlier treatise: if his son had cancer, would a teacher even consider saying that the boy “has been a handful”?