I want to talk about embarrassment. Its a hard thing with which to contend. We all have to deal with it many times in many situations. The trick to coping with embarrassment is to understand that it is an internal force. Embarrassment works by eroding the foundation of self-esteem. If a person is comfortable with themselves the actions of other people can’t embarrass them.
a couple of weeks ago, I went to the mall for coffee with a friend. I needed to wait. So I ran around the mall for a while. While I was doing that, three different children asked their parents What was wrong with me. Each of their parents chastised them loudly enough for me to hear. I was neither embarrassed nor offended by their question, in fact, I would have gladly answered them. The children asked their question because they saw someone who looked different and wanted to understand why, not because they wanted to cause pain or embarrassment.
If our society wants children to learn tact and discretion, they need to be given an opportunity to exercise and hone that skill. We also need to teach them that being different is alright. One of the ways we can do that is to indulge innocent childish curiosity. What do you think those kids learned by being chastised the way they were? They could have learned not to look at or speak with people in wheelchairs. They may ignore them in the future. That doesn’t make my life easier, and, more importantly, it won’t make their life easier either. It will only perpetuate their ignorance and fear. We need to let children be children, despite potential embarrassment. If we do that, life will be better for everyone.