It has been several months since I have last read a book and last weekend Wonder by R.J.Palacio fell into my lap which I quickly devoured. It was an easy and entertaining read but it also triggered some interesting questions and thoughts.
Wonder is about a 10 year old boy, August (Auggie) Pullman, who was born with a severe facial deformity and has been home schooled so far in his life but is now going to enter a regular school for the first time. His journey into this new world of Grade 5 is told through six different voices, including his own, and as expected his transition to regular school was not exactly easy.
One thing that I really liked about this book despite its Hollywood ending is that it was written in the first place. I could be dead wrong but these types of books were not written twenty years ago let alone ten years ago, or if they were I don’t think they made it to a Bestseller list. So although there may be critics out there on how neatly things were packaged up, I think it is a great starting place to increase awareness of what it means to be different, whether this difference is merely physical, mental or a combination thereof. I do wonder though, whether this book will really change a reader’s behavior when it comes to coming in contact – proactively or reactively – with those that are different in our society. Something tells me no.
Just yesterday I was at a park with my two girls and there were lots of other moms with young children and it was rather interesting to observe the number of stares Reilly received by both parents and children, and the not so subtle whispers to each other about counting their blessings. Although this interaction and observation is not new it still gets under my skin especially since Reilly’s presence is a perfect opportunity for parents to demonstrate acceptance in front of their kids in one of many ways. Especially since we are supposed to be in a time of greater social awareness. Not sure what it will take to move to the next level.
There is one quote within the book that really stood out for me and that is “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”– Dr. Wayne Dyer. Its message could apply to many different situations but for me it hits home with my parenting style with London. Since she is normal/typical/whatever PC term you want to apply I know I place higher expectations on her than I probably would have if I had two normal children and based on recent experience being right doesn’t always get you the results you want but being kind can get you a little farther towards the desired destination. Maybe I can use this same thought process with those ignorant baboons out there, but truthfully I am not sure I have the strength or the patience.