Human beings are a walking contradiction. How can we be the same and different at the same time?
We are the same in that we all want the most basic of things: to be treated with respect and kindness. In this way, we don’t want to be different to anyone else. We are different in that we are all individuals, and we want what is unique about us to be appreciated and embraced. In this way, we don’t want to be the same as anyone else.
Problems occur when people don’t grasp this and get confused. Think how much heartache over the years has been caused simply because a person was a different gender, religion or race?
Much of this is due to ignorance, and the antidote is awareness. Awareness helps a person understand and appreciate how similar we are while valuing the differences.
If instead of being scared of what was different we embraced it, think what a better place the world would be?
This is why I created a graphic story with the Archie and Friends introducing Scarlet. She’s a teen who is on the spectrum coping with autism. I wanted students and people in general to appreciate how and why an autistic person is different and how to treat a person with autism.
Children can be very innocent and naïve and just don’t know what autism is or have any idea how it manifests. Thus they wouldn’t have any understanding of why an autistic child is different. If it wasn’t explained to them, they would just think they’re quiet and somewhat strange.
When one goes to a dark room and lights a candle, the whole room is lit up. Kindness has the same powerful capacity. It has the ability to transform, and it works. Kindness really does work, and it’s part of my mission to instill folks with this insight. The great thing about kindness is how infectious it is — it just takes one act of kindness to ignite a snowball effect of people wishing to reciprocate.
Think how constructive this is as opposed to the destructive cycle of hate.
Then compare this to the cycle of kindness. When someone thinks of you and reaches out with a kind gesture, you feel so special that all you want to do is repay this act of kindness. If we ever befriend someone, we should never have to make apologies for them or have to defend them to anyone else. If someone else has a problem with it, that’s exactly what it is — their problem.
As we enter 2018, I want to do my very best to instill awareness on inclusion. I’ve been a teacher at a school with an autistic program where students in this program always wanted to be part of the full student body. They each had the desire, but their skills in reaching out to others weren’t there, and this is where it’s our job as a society to understand people.
Whether or not they have autism, we need to find ways to always communicate to each other with respect and let them know they matter, so that they can have a day where they can say “Best Day Ever!” What better platform than to use Archie Comics where the core characters always want to be helpful, supportive and inspire inclusion? This is why it has been #1 for 76 years!
To read Kindness Works, please contact: Nancy.firstname.lastname@example.org