If Only We Could See Through the Eyes of a Child
                      by Sue Drapinski
     From the Editor: As spring rolls around again, this

little reminder of the importance of the work that we all do

every day may be helpful. Sue Drapinski is the Treasurer of

the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan. This is

what she says:
     The importance of the NFB of Michigan's tutoring

program and the ongoing education of our blind children is

immeasurable. However, the education of the general public

about blindness issues and the capabilities of those who are

blind must also be a high priority. Today's blind and

sighted children are the best teachers. The following

tradition in our family demonstrates how easy it would be if

only society could see things through the eyes of a child.
     Each year our family has a barbecue on Memorial Day

weekend. We invite friends and family and enjoy outdoor

games, food, fellowship, and the local carnival games and

rides just a block away. Each year new friends join us. Last

year, Sid and Dawn Neddo and their children came. Kyle

Neddo, who is an eight-year-old blind child, was one of the

twelve children under the age of ten. He ate with the rest

of the kids, played with the rest of the kids, and went to

the carnival with the rest of the kids. Because Kyle and his

family are a part of our Federation family and because they

believe in and live our philosophy, Kyle has never been

excluded from children's activities.
     During the barbecue never once did any of the children

question Kyle's abilities. Never once did they treat him

differently, and most important never once did they assume

there was something he couldn't do. The same is not true for

the adults watching the children play. Some wondered if Kyle

should be running; some worried that he would get hurt; some

marveled at all of the exceptional things he was able to do

(such as playing like any other eight-year-old).
     One by one, the concerned adults realized that neither

Kyle's parents nor those of us who knew Kyle were concerned.

They began to understand a little bit of NFB philosophy--

Kyle is no different because he is blind, and he doesn't

need to be treated any differently because he is blind. The

next step is for these same adults to realize that Kyle is

not exceptional, nor has he overcome great adversity. Kyle,

like all of the other children, was just having fun being a

kid.
     As we meet new people and try to spread our philosophy,

our ultimate goal is for everyone to understand the truth

just as simply as the children do--blindness does not make a

difference in who a person is, what he or she can do, or how

he or she should be treated. We have a long way to go, but

if each of us takes advantage of the opportunities presented

to us, our philosophy will prevail.