We are a Colorful Family. When we are out in public, we are usually the ones people are looking at. Because we are unusually attractive. OR, perhaps, because one of the kids is usually doing something "interesting" and one of the parents (usually me - Pardner is a chef, and chefs quite a lot) is usually doing something "creative" to try to channel the "interestingness."
I’ve realized over the years, because I find myself staring when I see families with differences or public challenges, that some people—like me -- look on with identification and empathy.
Some look with scorn and judgment (those guys don’t even deserve this sentence).
But the other group consists of the ones who want to use my family to teach “tolerance” – which feels a little condescending -- or those who (much better) are aiming for respect and acceptance, whether of neurodiversity or ethnic diversity or any other inclusive impulse…
Um, may I just say that being anyone’s “Teachable Moment” can be a wee smidge annoying? But okay, I get it, people.
So here’s my Lesson Plan for this Teachable Moment:
Figure I – The Full Spectrum Family Lesson Plan
Guess what. It's a spectrum. Is yellow "better than" violet? No. Red vs. green: who wins?
Neurotypical's not better than neurodiverse -- and vice versa.
White? Brown? Peachy keen? Melungeon? Different?...Equal.
Orange? Blue? Indigo? Sensitive? Impervious? Female? Male? Trans? “Normal?” Weird?” Can’t tell?
Please think carefully before you approach us just because one of us is brown and might not be “mine,” or because one or two of us seems quirky…unless you do so under an equal and inclusive flag.
Whatever we are representing to you, it’s probably not our "fault." It’s not even necessarily that interesting.
There's nothing wrong with us, or at least no more than there is with any other given family. And we all need to learn to get along. Best we do so with the basic assumptions that no one is a specimen and that we are all equally valid members of this funky human rainbow.
Thanks – I needed to get that off our Spectrum.
Full Spectrum Mama