When there is great pain, a great loss, or a great misunderstanding, there is a great temptation to blame. There is also a great tendency for those on the sidelines to get in the action. Many are driven by their own unsettled hurt experiences to join in. And it can have a snowball effect. Soon, the ones who’d rather not see a problem are now feeling pressure or faced with their own marginalization if they don’t get into the blame. Maybe this is the whole dynamic of bullying.
I made a decision to become a teacher 28 years ago. In part due to this understanding that sometimes school is the only place a person feels secure to be themselves and also this equal understanding that school for many is the worst place. I had had many years of feeling school to be the refuge but I remembered well the few years that school years were the nightmare. This blog is less about bullying and its effects and more about traumatic brain injuries, a topic where the blame game often becomes more important than the survivor. It is written mostly for me. Written from a place that has now become my refuge- total solitude.
A hope is that people reading it might have more awareness leading to more empathy toward the struggles of the autistic boy next door, the returning soldier up the street or your own mother that you visit in a nursing home. Blaming the nursery school teacher, the president’s cabinet, or the nursing home’s administration may have a place. I don’t know much about those things. But I do know that the autistic student, the brain injured soldier, and a stroke victim need your humanity and acceptance of where they stand today without emphasis on what they could become tomorrow. They need this more than a bumper sticker, a great sermon, or a nice pin. Their battles of the mind may be far different than yours and their playing field far less level and much more wobbly. They may not be able to speak their mind or not capable. Your idea of courage may not need be spoken much less be heard by a brain injured person. We might strive to assume less and be braver ourselves to see less convenient truths to put on hold the blame game and hold the other’s hand.