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The Class Photo that Broke a Motherís Heart
yahoo.com ^ | June 17, 2013

Posted on 06/17/2013 5:42:11 PM PDT by grundle

What is wrong with this picture?

It's one of those things that you don't get, until you get it. Unless you are eternally empathetic, you look at this photo and don't see much wrong at all.

To Anne Belanger, mother of Miles, the photo is unbearable to look at.

When the class portrait for her son's Grade 2 class came home, she opened it excitedly, and immediately shoved it back in the envelope. She couldn't look at it. It broke her heart.

Anne's son, Miles, has Spinal Muscular Atrophy. At the age of 13 months, his parents were told that Miles would never walk, he has spent his life in a wheelchair.

Miles knows he's different than the rest of the kids, but he still tries to fit in. So there he is, on the far side of the image, neck craning as far as he can to stretch into the frame with the rest of his friends. He's beaming. It's school picture day and he's thrilled.

But the photo still broke Anne's heart. The photo was a clear example of how set apart her son is from society. Instead of a big group hug photo with Miles at the center, and classmates and teachers all around, a fully inclusive image, he was stuffed off to the side, some 3 feet away. An after thought, it seems.

(Excerpt) Read more at shine.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: chat; classphoto; disabled; schoolphoto; specialneeds; wheelchair
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To: Lancey Howard

We had the situation in our 8th grade Grad pic. The kid was put in the center! His brother was a real champ they were like a year apart, he always had his bro in class with all his books and whatever he needed for the two years I was there! that included all bathroom stops, lunch and loaded off and on.
The kid should have recieved a medal and still retained a 4.0
Through High school doing the same. If you ever had a brother like that you would be proud! Sad to say Ernie passed on about 6 mons. after High School but we always had a spot in our hearts for them both.


151 posted on 06/17/2013 7:49:30 PM PDT by Conserev1 ("Still Clinging to my Bible and my Weapon")
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To: grundle

152 posted on 06/17/2013 7:51:48 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: grundle
I am not sure why this is news or went viral. The mother was unhappy. She went to tbe photographer and got no satisfaction. She went to the school and the picture was retaken. End of story.

Personally, I think the mother should have made nice over what a happy face he had and how pleased she was with his school picture. The kid wouldn't have thought twice. With all the challenges this kid has, this seems so trivial.

Again, the kid didn't seem to care, he didn't come home crying that he was set apart or anything. If it didn't bother him, it shouldn't bother her.

153 posted on 06/17/2013 7:58:13 PM PDT by informavoracious (We're being "punished" with Stanley Ann's baby. Obamacare: shovel-ready healthcare.)
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To: BykrBayb

We defend the weakest among us. We encourage those who start to falter. We protect our young and vulnerable. We display compassion and strength in the same stance.
We believe all are created equal and are gifts from God. We stand guard when the jackals are circling our numbers.

At least, many of us do so.


154 posted on 06/17/2013 7:59:37 PM PDT by Thumper1960 (A modern so-called "Conservative" is a shadow of a wisp of a vertebrate human being.)
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To: puppypusher

Made me sad too. He should be in the middle with them around him.


155 posted on 06/17/2013 8:00:16 PM PDT by dandiegirl
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To: All

The child will be spending his entire life in a chair, I feel bad for him but he seems to be smiling and handling it well. Maybe his mother needs to get with the program too.


156 posted on 06/17/2013 8:01:28 PM PDT by newnhdad (Our new motto: USA, it was fun while it lasted.)
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To: grundle; a fool in paradise
But seriously, this thread could use a Liberace, John Tesh, or even Mantovani soundtrack.


157 posted on 06/17/2013 8:02:36 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: El Cid

Exactly. It would have been nice if the teacher and the photographer had thought enough to get the kid better placed, but it’s a minor little nothing in the grand scheme for him and his family.


158 posted on 06/17/2013 8:02:42 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: grundle
Kid has a great smile. Can't you just hear him saying, "Stop crying, mommy! I'm really OK!" I'm sure he will be a great comfort to her as she goes through this particularly difficult time of her life.
159 posted on 06/17/2013 8:04:25 PM PDT by TChad
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To: grundle

I woulda Photoshopped it for her... $10 tops.


160 posted on 06/17/2013 8:05:09 PM PDT by Thorliveshere (Tais deau s√° taghdedaul!)
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To: grundle
I've read all the comments on this thread, and I'm pretty disappointed in a great many. There has always been knee-jerk idiocy from some posters on this site, but I'm surprised at some of the posts I've read on this thread from people I've come to recognize and value.

There are parents of special needs kids who are "drama-enhanced", just like there are parents of "normal" kids who are. However, your chances of meeting them are much lower. Why? Because everything they do with the filter of "how is this going to make my kid feel?" They are focused on empathy-- quite often for kids other than their own-- and they'll spot the "slight" to your kid before you do, most likely.

The majority of these parents DON'T WANT their child to be "the center of attention". They want him involved with other kids. They want him to fit in, as much as possible, with other kids. They want him to have as close to the quality of life of other kids as he possibly can. They don't want to drag the rest of the class down to their kids' levels-- they want to raise their kids to the level of the other kids. ANYTHING ELSE puts the spotlight on their kids and, trust me, that's not where they want it.

I'll wager that, if you were to actually ask the mother in this story, far from wanting her kid in the center of the class, she'd want him toward the edge, but among them.

For those of you that say that this is not a slight, but just a bad picture: you're right. I'm sure the photographer didn't intend to leave that kid out in the weeds for the picture, and neither did the teacher.

For those of you that say that the fact that it's not a slight is the point: you're also right. The constant struggle and wish of parents with children of special needs is that, with just a bit of compassion-- with just a bit of situational awareness-- from those around them, their child's life would be that much richer. And it can be done without dragging everyone else down!

How could this particular picture been better handled? The photographer could have easily moved the kids over, or down a row, with the chair to the front, but toward the side of the bleachers. The teacher could've been on the other side. There are a myriad of ways that this extremely awkward picture could have been better prepared.

Here's where I deviate from the "lack of a slight" crowd: The teacher had been with this student for several weeks to several months (depending on when their school takes its pictures). The kids had been with this student for the same period, or perhaps years. The fact that the teacher didn't step up and stage this better, or that one or more of the students didn't, on their own, tells me all I need to know about the dynamics of the classroom (barring some draconian pronouncement by the photographer).

Sure, the kid is smiling to beat hell. He has no clue what's going on here. Sure his Mom is heartbroken-- but I bet she never tells him that. Someday, though, when he's looking back through his photos, he's going to realize what this picture represents. His mom will be reminded every time she views it.

Yeah, it's only a class photo. It's too bad that this photo isn't one amongst thousands where he can be seen smiling as he's riding his bike, graduating from Army Ranger School, walking down the aisle with his bride, jogging along side his first-born as the training wheels come off for the first time... It's too bad that this picture is going to be among only a few.

And now for full disclosure: I'm the oldest brother of an Autistic kid. I grew up watching my parents attempt to deal with people the likes of which I've read the posts here. I've seen them fight for just a bit of decency from people who, given their way, would banish him to some island, so as not to temporarily inconvenience them in the slightest-- to force them to think of anyone but themselves. My parents who only want my brother to live the fullest, richest, most normal life he can.

I'm now the father of a completely ordinary son-- one who, unlike my little brother, would LOVE to be the center of attention, and thankfully doesn't have to struggle with the same things he has-- but is fully aware that some people do, and will hopefully approach things at 10 years old with more maturity than I'm seeing from many on this thread.

Don't bother arguing with me-- it's not my intent. I only wish to open your eyes just a bit. Some of you are wrong, and your argument is with God and yourself, not with me.

161 posted on 06/17/2013 8:13:23 PM PDT by Egon (Apparently, Jimmy Carter DOES need a third term.)
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To: Rodamala
I saw a lot of compassion from kids that you normally wouldn’t expect it from... different world now, I guess... everyone is so closed in upon their own little virtual world...

My daughter's "boyfriend" has been on crutches or in a wheelchair all his life (they're 14) and one of the most popular kids around. My first "real" conversation with him started out with me asking him if he thought it appropriate he should be asking my daughter to be his "date" for the big dance, without first having formally introduced himself to her parents. (they were in 7th grade at the time.) My husband was appalled, our daughter cringed, but the young man just looked at me and said something along the lines of - no, not really, you tried to "help" pick me up off the floor on Halloween, I think we have been introduced enough.

I was appropriately put in my place and I admired him for not being cowed, but he has also thanked me for not looking at his crutches and learning to look at him for him.

162 posted on 06/17/2013 8:18:34 PM PDT by Gabz (Democrats for Voldemort.)
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To: AppyPappy

NOT drama. This is not acceptable. What if he was a VETERAN!


163 posted on 06/17/2013 8:18:49 PM PDT by huldah1776
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To: GeronL

No. If the child is outside the group, it portrays that he is not part of the group. Is any other child in the picture the center of attention? it’s a group concept. Hard to understand for some, I see.


164 posted on 06/17/2013 8:21:02 PM PDT by huldah1776
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To: umgud

Nope. The kids and teacher could all have been shifted to either side of the bleachers for inclusion. Our teacher sat in the center.


165 posted on 06/17/2013 8:22:28 PM PDT by huldah1776
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To: GeronL

My son is in a special needs class. They keep him and 8 others mostly separated from the rest of the school. I hate it ...he’s marginalized and kept on the periphery.

Maybe he needs different instruction than the other students. Maybe having him in a regular class would disrupt the educations of him and them if they have to give him separate instructions. Him being “wonderful” is beside the point.

**
Not necessarily talking about including him in instruction ...how about including him in general school activities: plays, the band, chorus, etc. He is NEVER nominated or encouraged to do such things.

“kept on the periphery” of what?

Of participation in the “community” of the school — in all the little things that enable kids to “be involved” in their school ...raising the flag for the day, talking on the intercom, being nominated for awards, beging given special tasks, etc. All things that connect a child to a school and to a community. You probably take this for granted, as your kids are included in these types of things.

Do you think they should be in a regular classroom if it disrupts and interferes with the education of the other students and the disabled kids too? Do you think it more important for them to be there than for all the kids to get the best education?

Isn’t it possible you are using emotion in that post instead of logic?

***

Well, gee, yeah ...hard not to. This is my kid. He’s not a sock puppet. Do you have kids at all? Are they included in the life and the community of their school? Do you know how it feels for your child NOT to be included into that? I know how it feels and the “emotions” I feel aren’t all that great. It hurts. So, yes, emotion does surely come into it.


166 posted on 06/17/2013 8:26:09 PM PDT by LibsRJerks (s)
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To: Egon

A huge thumbs up on your post!!!!


167 posted on 06/17/2013 8:29:38 PM PDT by Gabz (Democrats for Voldemort.)
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To: informavoracious

Agree with you.

The mother should quit viewing her son as a victim.

The lad himself plainly doesn’t.


168 posted on 06/17/2013 8:30:54 PM PDT by Fightin Whitey
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To: LibsRJerks
how about including him in general school activities: plays, the band, chorus, etc. He is NEVER nominated or encouraged to do such things

does he volunteer for those things? I don't understand why he would need to be "nominated", has he actually expressed a desire to the school to do those things?

169 posted on 06/17/2013 8:32:29 PM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: Egon

Thanks for your amazing and highly thoughtful post, Egon. I’m also disappointed in many here on this thread. Not everything is a “conservative” pull yourself up by your bootstraps, son, type of issue.

Special needs parents are anything but whiners ...yes, the kid looks happy, but I’m sure his day to day life is likely a constant as well as costly struggle.

It’s one thing to denigrate whiny women who have nothing really to whine about ....but THESE mothers have something to whine about ...something that is QUITE difficult to bear at times. Add to it an absent or spouse that has deserted you (which happens as often as up to 80% of marriages like thse) and you get something that most MEN couldn’t handle for one day.


170 posted on 06/17/2013 8:33:09 PM PDT by LibsRJerks
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To: GeronL

how about including him in general school activities: plays, the band, chorus, etc. He is NEVER nominated or encouraged to do such things

does he volunteer for those things? I don’t understand why he would need to be “nominated”, has he actually expressed a desire to the school to do those things?

**
Hell, I don’t know. What kids at the elementary level usually DO express a desire to do these things? ...these things are usually carried out by kids who are pushed to do it by teachers, or peers, or whomever.

Perhaps my son would like to do something like this, but certainly at times cannot express that he would like to do it ...and he certainly won’t be invited or encouraged to do it. This is the problem ...and you are NOT getting this.

I suppose you are of the type that feels that since children with special needs don’t “seem” to want or desire the things that normal children desire, that it’s ok not to enable them to do it ...well, how do you know that? Can you see inside their hearts? They do have the SAME desires and needs as any of us ...the desire for friendship, for acceptance, for inclusion ... but rarely are these needs met.


171 posted on 06/17/2013 8:39:03 PM PDT by LibsRJerks
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To: Egon

And now for full disclosure: I’m the oldest brother of an Autistic kid. I grew up watching my parents attempt to deal with people the likes of which I’ve read the posts here. I’ve seen them fight for just a bit of decency from people who, given their way, would banish him to some island, so as not to temporarily inconvenience them in the slightest— to force them to think of anyone but themselves. My parents who only want my brother to live the fullest, richest, most normal life he can.

**

Ah ha .... got to the end here and I see WHY you wrote such a compassionate post. You have LIVED it. And look now at the type of person you are. Amazing. You deserve every blessing . . .

I have already seen the wonders having an autistic kid as my youngest has done for my older two. The are also compassionate, sensitive, although not in a pitying way, and richer for the experience. They are like parents to him in some ways, and in others, they all behave in extremely normal sibling ways ... both have pledged to always take care of him ....although I have NEVER asked them to do so and really don’t want to lay that on them. But they’d do it ..they love their little brother.


172 posted on 06/17/2013 8:45:26 PM PDT by LibsRJerks
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To: Doogle

..........the photographer could have moved everyone one foot to the right and it would have been better..........

BINGO!


173 posted on 06/17/2013 8:46:37 PM PDT by Noob1999 (Loose Lips, Sink Ships)
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To: grundle

The class was centered upon the bleachers. Had they positioned the class to the far right from the camera perspective, the boy would have been closer to the class but the bleachers would be empty to the left of the group and the teacher would have to find another place to stand, perhaps behind the chair?


174 posted on 06/17/2013 8:50:54 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: LibsRJerks
If a child cannot express that he wants to be in a play, how exactly will he be able to act in a play? If he is unable to communicate how does he read his lines?

for friendship, for acceptance, for inclusion

So this isn't about being in plays, band or chorus or raising the flag on the flagpole. If he is able to do those things it would be a simple matter of asking.

So when other kids sign up for things, they should do what? read his heart and use a crystal ball to discern how to include the kids who didn't sign up? If you don't even know, how can you expect the school to know?

Here is an idea. Find out what your child is interested in, find out what role he can play and then go to the school and actually ask/goad them into letting your child participate.

....

Not so serious--> The kid in the picture, if feels left out, he should sign up for wrestling or the swim team. :p

175 posted on 06/17/2013 8:52:26 PM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: LibsRJerks
Being kind about the feelings of all children is a good thing. And of Mothers whose hearts break daily for a special needs child.

Any decent human knows this. The grown ups know this. And conservatives know this.

176 posted on 06/17/2013 8:53:18 PM PDT by cajungirl
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To: huldah1776
He is in the picture, he is smiling. Its just a bad picture. I don't think anyone should try and declare that he was treated badly because of this pic.
177 posted on 06/17/2013 9:00:39 PM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: Lancey Howard

No, using an android sometimes, that sometimes doesn’t show that the post went through.


178 posted on 06/17/2013 9:01:18 PM PDT by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: GeronL

If a child cannot express that he wants to be in a play, how exactly will he be able to act in a play? If he is unable to communicate how does he read his lines?

***
Honestly, I am wondering if YOU are autistic yourself ...you take everything so literally.

My son is autistic. His brain does not process at the same speed or in the same non-linear fashion, the same DYNAMIC fashion as that of a typical child. Perhaps he sees the play and thinks it’s neat. Perhaps he looks at the kids in the play and admires how they act or sing or dance. But does he CONNECT all of this and actually bubble up with the desire to run to his teacher and beg to be put into the play? Heck no ...it doesn’t go down like that.

And am I the pushy mother who is going to barge into the school and DEMAND that my son be included in everything? Nope. Not me ...not my style.

It just doesn’t happen like this ...

for friendship, for acceptance, for inclusion

So this isn’t about being in plays, band or chorus or raising the flag on the flagpole. If he is able to do those things it would be a simple matter of asking.

***
that’s what I’m getting at ...it’s NOT just a simple matter of asking ...

So when other kids sign up for things, they should do what? read his heart and use a crystal ball to discern how to include the kids who didn’t sign up? If you don’t even know, how can you expect the school to know?

***

I’m sorry, but I DO feel, at least at the elementary level, that many typical children are encouraged to do things and TRY things for the sake of trying them, because someone, some teacher believes that they should try it. They don’t necessarily ASK to do it .. .they are LED TO DO IT. The schools KNOW who wants to participate ...or perhaps they do not. Perhaps they don’t believe special kids can participate, and so they hold them back.

Here is an idea. Find out what your child is interested in, find out what role he can play and then go to the school and actually ask/goad them into letting your child participate.

Why should I do that? Why can’t the teachers figure this out and encourage him? They are WITH him more than I am during the school hours. Do OTHER parents have to do this?

BTW, my son can read. He’d be able to read lines just fine.

There is also the confidence issue ...something that results from a lack of social skills which is problematic in autism to begin with. So how do you solve that? If you’re constantly kept on the periphery, what do you think that does for a child’s confidence level?

Your problem is you know nothing about the disability. You think everything is so black and white ...so easy. It’s just not that easy, my friend.

Either that or you just get your jollies by goading on the mother of an autistic child. If THAT is your issue, then you can go to h*ll.


179 posted on 06/17/2013 9:10:03 PM PDT by LibsRJerks
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To: BlueStar

>Someone fixed it...Photoshop.<

There. Problem solved. That kid is such a cutie - he’s got a million dollar smile.


180 posted on 06/17/2013 9:16:38 PM PDT by Darnright ("I don't trust liberals, I trust conservatives." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca)
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To: LibsRJerks

I haven’t goaded you at all.

I was asking questions. Apparently you think - but don’t know - that your child should be included in plays or band, even if he doesn’t want to be? or is not able to do those things?


181 posted on 06/17/2013 9:23:10 PM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: grundle

Some of the people here are really heartless and have obviously never had to raise a child who has a disability.


182 posted on 06/17/2013 9:23:42 PM PDT by stuck_in_new_orleans
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To: grundle

the photographer could have easily moved to class to the right end - leaving no gap between them and the boy - the clueless teachers could have arranged that as well -

those that think ‘mommy’ is being over sensitive - may you never be in her shoes. Thank your lucky stars. And lower your noses a bit. Rarified air clouds understanding...


183 posted on 06/17/2013 9:28:43 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does - by their fruits)
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To: Doogle

exactly - and any one of the teachers could have done the same - clueless - as are some freepers here


184 posted on 06/17/2013 9:30:21 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does - by their fruits)
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To: sten

jerk


185 posted on 06/17/2013 9:36:26 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does - by their fruits)
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To: Anitius Severinus Boethius; GeronL

Constantly referring to an innocent child as “the cripple” is another good example. I just don’t get this need that some people have to insult disabled people, and treat them as untermenschen. As though the other children would have been harmed by the inclusion of this boy with the rest of the group.


186 posted on 06/17/2013 9:37:53 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ √ě)
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To: 23 Everest; All
the kid is smiling. Parents and critics shut the hell up. He’s happy, look at that look on his face. You guys are the problem.

Kids that are hurting on the inside because people around them are clueless - more often then not, put on a brave face and a big smile. It is a defense mechanism.

People that don't understand that "are the problem"

187 posted on 06/17/2013 9:41:30 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does - by their fruits)
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To: GeronL

What is your point? Come out with it. Enough of the questions.


188 posted on 06/17/2013 9:46:24 PM PDT by LibsRJerks
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To: cripplecreek

Yup, it was justa poor composition.


189 posted on 06/17/2013 9:46:26 PM PDT by mylife (Ted Cruz understands the law, and he does not fear the unlawful.)
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To: raybbr
I guess mom missed the big ol' smile on his face. I would have done it differently but the smile on his face says more.

You'd never make it as an Empath.

to repeat m y post # 187

"Kids that are hurting on the inside because people around them are clueless - more often then not, put on a brave face and a big smile. It is a defense mechanism."

The 'smile on his face' is more likely a brave face masking hurt...a face he probably wears a lot to cope in a clueless world.

May you never know what that feels like.

190 posted on 06/17/2013 9:47:47 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does - by their fruits)
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To: LibsRJerks

I didn’t have a point


191 posted on 06/17/2013 9:53:08 PM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: Ditter

totally unworthy post for FR - but that’s getting to be common.

(FR isn’t what it used to be.)


192 posted on 06/17/2013 9:57:25 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does - by their fruits)
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To: BlueStar
And THAT is how it should have been - and would have been, had either the photog or the teacher had an ounce of common sense
193 posted on 06/17/2013 10:00:44 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does - by their fruits)
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To: Lancey Howard
Boo hoo hoo. Somebody call a wahhhh!-mbulance. The kid looks happy as a clam. It's a shame his mother is such a selfish skunk.

It's a shame so many Freepers now seem to be people who would be better fitted to DU

194 posted on 06/17/2013 10:03:56 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does - by their fruits)
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To: informavoracious

Clueless: 101


195 posted on 06/17/2013 10:06:00 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does - by their fruits)
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To: KittenClaws

You summed it up pretty well.

The people who insist this child didn’t deserve to be included with the other children probably wouldn’t say the same things about a child without disabilities.

What if we took the kid who is in the middle of the group, and had him switch places, to be the one singled out for banishment from the group? Would they be okay with that? And if they discovered the reason for singling him out was because his favorite toy was a water gun, would they join in ostracizing him too? I doubt it. I think their disdain is reserved for kids in wheelchairs, women on feeding tubes, and others they view as less than.


196 posted on 06/17/2013 10:08:06 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ √ě)
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To: newnhdad; All
The child will be spending his entire life in a chair, I feel bad for him but he seems to be smiling and handling it well. Maybe his mother needs to get with the program too.

Maybe the mother understands that a smile can be a cover up to keep from crying -

Seems., from the posts here, that a lot of freepers have been fortunate enough not to live with daily hurt, hurt they have leanred to cover up with a smile, because most peole don't see or don't give a damn.

Many posts in this thread are proof of that.

197 posted on 06/17/2013 10:10:35 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does - by their fruits)
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To: Egon

AMEN


198 posted on 06/17/2013 10:14:10 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does - by their fruits)
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To: OneWingedShark

yes it does if you look at the bench seats. He was right next to the seat...the boy looks happy and smiling. A smart mother would focus on that and tell her son he has a great smile...


199 posted on 06/17/2013 10:19:53 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: maine-iac7

It’s a class picture and I’ve had four kids who over the course of their entire k-12 life, hated their class picture at one time or another. It’s not a big deal really. Hell, I hated numerous class pictures I was in way back when.

Geez, it amazes what we’ve becone.

Maybe Mommy or the media wants an issue?

Maybe we really are becoming a nation of whiners?


200 posted on 06/17/2013 10:21:50 PM PDT by Twink
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