A few months ago, while driving in a Vancouver suburb, I saw something that really opened my eyes.
Just up the road from where I was staying, three kids were playing street hockey. In Canada, street hockey is very common practice for kids; but this situation was far from normal.
Unsurprisingly, two kids were shooting, and one was playing goalie. Again, nothing special. But then, upon closer look, I noticed the goalie (who was no older than 14) was paralyzed from the waist down.
As tragic as this is, my intention is not to draw tears. Instead, there’s a great lesson to be learned.
The two shooters could have found another friend to play with. This would have not only excluded the goalie from their game, but their friendship as well. Fortunately, these kids didn’t do that. They involved the goalie like any other teenager playing street hockey with his friends.
When people face adversity or tragedy, they are often coddled or treated differently. Most of the time, they simply want to be treated as normal (and in that sense, equal).
Sometimes, the more powerful things in life go unsaid. My experience affirmed that belief.
So the next time someone you know is faced with a trying situation or dilemma, don’t assert power or superiority. Don’t turn into a guardian.
Instead, recognize and cherish your equality. It’s the best thing you can do.