The Special Olympics is Tough Stuff

When the folks from P&G asked me to write a series of blog posts about their relationship with the Moms of Special Olympians I replied pretty quickly with Sure. I thought it would be easy to talk to y’all about how P&G supports The Special Olympics, most specifically the Moms. It’s the easiest ask in the world, every time you leave a comment, like or share the Thank You Mom campaign on facebook Procter and Gamble will donate a dollar (up to $250,000) to support Team USA’s journey to Athens.

No brainer, slam dunk.

But it hasn’t been easy. I’ve written and deleted a half dozen posts because I’m scared to write the wrong thing. I’ve been terrified of writing the wrong thing about the families or the kids. Which is actually a really great example of how The Special Olympics benefits us all. I don’t know how I’m supposed to talk about someone else’s child who has special needs.

This is a discussion worth having, but it isn’t one that I’d be initiating here if I wasn’t involved with the Special Olympics. It’s an issue I’d have continued to sidestep and avoid because I am terrified of being hurtful. When the Special Olympics come around it’s like we all have these athletes to cheer for, and they’re all our heroes and Moms like me can ask questions that we might not otherwise find the words for.

I guess what I’m hoping for here is input from all of you. Many of you have children who are competing in the Special Olympics. How does a mom like me keep her foot out of her mouth? How do I tell you how very much I admire you without sounding patronizing or like I pity you? How can a blogger like me, support a community like yours?

 

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Comments 7

  1. As you may recall from previous comments, I don’t have kids, so it might seem wrong for me to offer any insight. But I am a writer, and I do write about controversial stuff some time. I think you need to accept that you may say something wrong at some point — not intentionally, of course — but it may happen. Don’t let that stop you from talking or writing about this important subject. The minute you recognize you’ve put your foot in your mouth, acknowledge it, apologize for it, and move on. The only way to raise awareness about what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable when talking about the Special Olympics, the Olympians, and their families is to have people like you who are willing to make the mistakes so that the rest of us can learn. I think 99.9 percent of people will see any mistakes you make as just that: honest mistakes. Keep writing!

  2. Could you interview Moms of Special Olympians as a jumping off point? I’m not a Mom, but I am a Sibling of a Special Olympian. : )

  3. I think it’s great that you’re seeking guidance, and your sensitivity to the subject is admirable.  However, you should rest assured that we’re all parents first, and we’re all in the same boat.  The more interviews you conduct with parents of special needs kids, the more comfortable you will be–and, I think you’ll find you have more in common with us than you think.  Bottom line:  parenthood is not for the faint of heart, same and we’re all in the same boat…

    Good luck!
    Beth Fine
    (parent of a 17 year old young man with autism and adhd)
     

  4. I’ve held off commenting on this post since I read it in my inbox. I honestly have mixed feelings about this, but I truly respect the fact that you acknowledge this is tough stuff. I also appreciate that just because you are a well known blogger with a very large and engaged community, doesn’t automatically mean you can write about all topics with ease. I’m feeling the same about other posts I’ve read recently about the Special Olympics…..not necessarily negative feelings, but just really mixed.

  5. I’ve held off commenting on this post since I read it in my inbox. I honestly have mixed feelings about this, but I truly respect the fact that you acknowledge this is tough stuff. I also appreciate that just because you are a well known blogger with a very large and engaged community, doesn’t automatically mean you can write about all topics with ease. I’m feeling the same about other posts I’ve read recently about the Special Olympics…..not necessarily negative feelings, but just really mixed.

  6. You should go volunteer Jessica.  Also, read Tanis’ post.  She has a complete understanding of what it’s like raising a special needs child and she’s doing it with an amazing amount of grace.  http://www.theredneckmommy.com/2011/07/04/please-live/

    I just saw that P&G reached their goal of donating $250,000 to the Special Olympics.  Thank you for contributing to helping them reach this goal. 

  7. Hi Jessica

    Your desire to reach out about this is truly admirable, and shows your goodness of heart. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the Special Olympics for 8 years, on a state, national and international level. The common theme that runs through every one of these events, regardless of its size, is the pure, unadulterated joy and love these athletes have for everyone… their families, teammates, coaches, friends, and all of us volunteers lucky enough to witness such a true testament to the human spirit. The shift that takes place after being a part of something like the Special Olympics is what I imagine motherhood may be like. Not having children yet myself I realize this statement may sound a bit bold and naive and downright laughable, but hear me out. You are forever changed after participating in an SO event.. you don’t just experience it, you inhale, absorb and savor its many emotions, the victories, accomplishments and defeats. I understand that this might be a stretch for some to draw this parallel, but I think you already know more about it than you may give yourself credit for on this one  :)

    Looking forward to reading more posts!
    -Laura Mandell

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