This morning I posted the following comment on our Facebook page:
“The saying “God only gives special children to special people” is whack. Please stop saying it. #SpecialNeedsProTip :-)”
Boy, oh boy, I had no idea how much Facebook controversy that status update would cause.
Most people agreed with me, but a few didn’t. In fact, one person actually left a comment saying, “I used to love this page ….[but] I really want to cuss you all out ..” LOL…Wow! You want to “cuss me out” because of a Facebook status update? Yikes!
I realize that a few folks may have misinterpreted / misunderstood the meaning behind my comment so I thought I would write a blog post explaining the meaning behind my Facebook comment this morning.
Does God really only give “special kids” to “special parents?” The answer is both yes…and no. In other words, I think that statement is both whack…and un-whack.
Let me explain.
Why The Saying “God Only Gives Special Kids To Special Parents” Is Whack.
Before I begin, please allow me to make a few simple observations so we’re all on the same page: When someone says this statement what they typically mean is that God only gives children with a disability “(special kids”) to great parents (“special parents”) or parents that are somehow able to raise a child with a disability better than the all the other parents in the world. (I also know this is “filler talk” because they don’t know what else to say, which is ok. I”m not saying I’m offended by the comment, or that it’s a hurtful thing to say…I’m simply saying the comment is “whack”….or untrue.)
One other point of reference; good parents love their children and do everything within their ability to help them grow, develop, and become the people God created them to be. They don’t harm, abuse, or murder them.
Ok, here we go.
1. Most Of These “Special Parents” Abort Their “Special Kids.”
It’s no secret that a mother’s womb is the most dangerous place in the world for a child with Down syndrome. More than 90% of children suspected to have Down syndrome in the womb are aborted…for no other reason than that they may have Down syndrome. That’s tragic…and whack! Good parents (special parents) don’t murder their children…regardless of if they have Down syndrome (“special kids”) or not. This point alone shows us that the statement “God only gives special children to special parents” is indeed, whack.
In fact, based on the facts you’d have to say;
“God seems to give more children with Down syndrome to parents who are going to murder them.”
“The odds are that if you are pregnant, and based on prenatal testing find out that your child may have Down syndrome, you will be a bad parent…not a good (or “special”) one. (Remember, “good” or “special” parents don’t murder their children.)
If you are raising a child with Down syndrome, you are in the minority, not the majority of good (aka: “special”) parents. Most parents of children with Down syndrome abort them. In other words; most parents of “special kids” (kids with Down syndrome) aren’t “special” (or good) parents, in fact by definition, they are bad parents.
One more time: good parents don’t murder their children.
2. “Special” (Good) Parents Don’t Abandon Their Family
I’ve talked to more single mothers than I want to count whose husband divorced or abandoned them after their “special” child was born. Divorcing your wife or abandoning your family isn’t something a “special” (good) parent does….rather something a whack (bad) parent. By definition not being there for your wife and child makes you a “bad” parent (I think we can all agree that abandoning your child certainly doesn’t make you a “good” parent.)
3. Families That Aren’t Rising A Child With Special Needs Aren’t “Less Special” Than Those That Are
I don’t know what I would feel like if I didn’t have a son with Down syndrome and someone told me “God only gives special kids to special families.” Should I feel hurt? Should I feel offended that that person (or God!) doesn’t think I’m a “special” (aka: good) parent? Also is the reward for being a “good” (aka: special) parent, having a child with Down syndrome? If so, and I didn’t have one, should I keep trying to be a better (aka: more special) parent until God deems me “special” enough that He would give me one of these “special” children?
None of these things make much sense to me…and in fact, they seem a little “whack” to be honest.
By the way, I know TONS of “special” (aka: good) parents that don’t have a “special child” (aka: child with a disability.) So if God truly does only give “special kids” to “special parents” he must also give “non-special” (typically developing) kids to “special parents” (aka: good parents) also.
Why The Saying “God Only Gives Special Children To Special People” Is Un-Whack.
To be fair I actually think this statement at its core is true. It is very much true that God gives “special children” to “special people.” But it has nothing to do with a child having a disability, or a parent raising a child that does.
Let me explain;
1. All Children, And Their Parents, Are “Special”
All people have infinite value and worth not because they are born with a disability, or parenting a child who does. Genesis 1:27 tells us that;
“God created humankind in his own image..”
In other words, every person on this planet is “special” because each and every person on this planet is created in the image of the most “special” Person that has ever existed, God.
Also in Psalm 139:13-14 we’re told that;
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful”
In other words, God created every person on this planet, and everything He creates is “wonderful” or “special”…not because they were born with a disability, or parenting a child who does…but simply because God made them!
That’s pretty awesome!
So, Does God Only Give Special Children To Special Parents?
The bottom line is God does give special children to special people.
All parents are special and all children are special. Period.
Having a child with special needs doesn’t make you any more special than any other parent raising any other kid, sorry. I know some parents like to use their child having a disability as a way to say they are “more” special than other parents, but it’s simply not true.
Just be a parent. A parent raising a child with a disability. You don’t have to be “more special” than other parents. You are as special as any parent can be… just because you are made by God, and in the Image of God. You (or your child) can’t be any more special than that.
How To Be A “Special” Parent
While it’s true that are parents are “special” since every parent is created in the image of God, not all parents are “good” parent. As I mentioned above, some parents abandon their children and their family, some parents murder their children, some parents never teach their children about God, and many other parents pursue their careers more than they pursue a relationship with their child. This isn’t being a “special” (aka: good) parent…it’s being a “whack” (aka: bad) one.
If you really want to be a “special parent” (aka: a good one) put in to action some of the things good parents do, and teach them how to grow up be a “special” man or women. Good parents are rare these days. There are no magic time machines, and you only have one shot to be a game changing one. Make it count!
I believe every parent is a “special parent” (created in the image of God) and has the ability to be a “special parent” (aka: a good parent) as well. No matter your background, upbringing, or what kind of parents you had growing up. Every child (special needs or typical) has his or her own set of challenges.
Parenting isn’t easy….but it’s awesome, and there’s nothing else like it.
Above All, Show Grace.
Lastly, if you are a parent of a child with Down syndrome (or any other disability) I want to encourage you to have tons and tons of grace with people. Most people have no idea what to say and I totally get that. (By the way, if that’s you here’s a few suggestions.) I would never want to make anyone feel awkward, or discourage them from having the courage to say something (even if what they are saying isn’t necessarily true.) So lighten up, give people the benefit of the doubt, and always assume the best about people.
I feel a similar tension about people saying the word “retarded.” I hear people saying that word all the time, and most of time they have no idea why it’s offensive, or why they should stop saying it. I usually know the person and their heart / motive isn’t to be offensive or hurtful, so I don’t say anything simply because I don’t want to make them feel bad, especially if it’s in front of a group of people. It’s a weird tension that I’m still trying to figure out myself. (By the way, I’d be interested to hear how you handle this in the comments.).if you see me out a
Oh, and if you see me out and about and happen to tell me that “God only gives special kids to special people” don’t worry…you won’t offend me or hurt my feelings. In fact, I’ll probably just smile and say “I don’t know about that.” (And maybe email this post to you.)….Just don’t tell me that “all kids with Down syndrome are angels.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comments below. Just please don’t “cuss me out” …because that wouldn’t be very “special”…or nice!