When you think of the word “handicap”, what do you think about? I have reason to think you think of the blue square with the white figure in a wheelchair. We see them in parking lots all the time, but what does it really mean?
As someone who worked in parking before, I can tell you that there is more variety than you think. First, there is the Vietnam Vet who lost the ability of his or her arms and/or legs. Then there are other instances where an accident occured during an athletic activity like mountain climbing or an explosion at an event like the recent Boston Marathon. Whatever the case, some of these people have insurance. Prosthetic arms or legs are ordered. Then surgery is performed. These people eventually learn how to walk again, maybe even run.
Then there are those who don’t have inssurance. All they can afford is a crutch or two. You see them in the grocery store, at sporting events, or even at the bar. Others have wheelchairs or power chairs.
You may think all these people move much more slowly than you and that that is a handicap in itself. The important point is that you see them. These people are out there doing the same things you are. I dont think it makes them handicapped. I would much rather refer to them as limited to certain physical abilities.
“Once we accept our limits. We Go beyond them.” Quote by Albert Einstein –> We all have limitations we have to surpass.
For instance, people who are extremely overweight are considered physically limited. Ive seen them go through my area of the parking lot with the blue placards hanging in their rear window. I admit I thought, “How are they going to enjoy themselves?” The answer is: the best way they can.
These people with obvious limitations think about their limitation ever day of their life. They learn to deal with it and move on. Us passerbys only see them for a moment. We imagine the endurance it would take just to walk through the door. We only have that moment we see. We cant get passed it.
There are also people who are mentally limited. They see letters in words backwards or they are more math and science geared. Whatever the limitation, many people find a way passed it. Those people are not handicapped in my eyes.
I’ve seen articles with pictures of people in wheelchairs who are more active in sports than people will the full use of their arms and legs. I know people who travel the country in a van equipped or not with a door that slides open to let out a ramp. This ramp lets them roll into their car and into the driver’s seat. They are out there doing activities that many people who have no physical limitations don’t do. Are these fully able people the ones who should be called handicapped? Perhaps call it “Actively handicapped?” No, I still think calling it a limitation sounds a lot better.
There are no exact answers. Just think about it. Try not to ostrisice the next person you see with a crutch or wheelchair. Maybe open the door for them. Quit thinking, “What do they do for me?” Instead think, “How can I make their day a little easier?” Who knows the kind of effort they have to endure everyday with or without the social stigma they receive when they walk out the door or their home.
I want to end with one more thought to chew on. Art is something many people enjoy. Some create it and others observe it. There are those who think if you can’t appreciate art, you are mentally limited. Some others think that if you spend any time in the arts, you are wasting your time. So who is right? No one. It’s a matter of your own perspective. Do you want a well balance one or a limited one? It’s up to you to decide.