The National Federation of the Blind Magazine for Parents and Teachers of Blind Children
Vol. 2, No. 5 September- December 1983
Barbara Cheadle, Editor
Copyright © 1983 National Federation of the Blind
For more information
about blindness and children contact:
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 659-9314, ext. 2360
www.nfb.org/nopbc • [email protected] • [email protected]
Vol. 2, No. 5 September- December 1983
Report on the Parents of Blind Children Division
Our Family's Response to Blindness
A Word About Subscription Fees and Membership
Selecting Toys for the Blind Youngster
Print-Braille Books for Children
White Cane Safety Day: A Symbol of Independence
Parents Seminar Report
Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Complete Future Reflections
Complete Future Reflections - Zip file (WORD)
I remember, as most of us do, I suppose, how exciting Christmas was when I was a child. My parents didn't have much money, so I and my brothers and sister never got much, but it didn't matter. There was always something: a new doll complete with wardrobe (my mother was an excellent seamstress), a tea set, a toy truck -- something. Actually, the anticipation of that "big moment" when we would rush to the tree to unwrap those mysterious packages, gave as much excitement and pleasure as the actual gift ever could. I also remember how that excitement seemed to diminish as I reached my teenage and young adult years. I recall wondering if Christmas would ever again hold the same magic and charm that it once did. It didn't seem possible. Then I became a wife, then a mother.
I remember when our first child was old enough to truly anticipate Christmas. You could feel the gathering excitement and tension in him as Christmas morning approached. But on that morning, as he was tearing open his gifts with shouts of delight, I knew his pleasure could not equal the joy and satisfaction that was mine. The old magic of Christmas was back. Not even the excitement of my childhood Christmases could rival the pleasure I was receiving by "giving". Giving to my son, to my husband, to all those I loved. If it is true that the ability to give is a sign of emotional maturity (and I'm talking now in the larger sense, not just material gifts, but the ability to give affection, love, of oneself, etc.) then I had finally "grownup".
But it also seems to me that the ability to "receive" is as important as the ability to give. Children do not have much problem with that. They receive gladly, but also selfishly -- with little thought for the giver. We adults are different. Some of us just can't seen to accept a gift. Perhaps we subconsciously see it as "charity" or as an "obligation" that we must pay back. Perhaps we really feel that the gift-giver is in the superior position,
and the gift-receiver is in the inferior one. Whatever the reason, (and I have only been speculating here... I am no psychologist) there is no doubt in my mind that the person who does not know how to receive suffers from as much emotional immaturity as the person who cannot give.
And that brings me to my Christmas wish for you and your family. It is a sad thing to see blind adults who cannot give, only take. All their lives things have been done for them and no one has expected -- much less taught them -- how to give in return. They have been deprived by parents, by educators, and by the rest of society of the joy and pleasure that comes with the mature ability to give. Then there are those who do know how to give, and want to give; the blind who have talents and abilities to contribute, but whose gifts are rejected by a public mind that cannot see the blind as equals, but only as objects of charity. The tragedy is that everyone is diminished when we force the blind to be only "takers" and the sighted never learn to "receive".
My Christmas wish for your blind child this season is this: I wish for your child the opportunity to learn the satisfaction and joy of giving. I also wish for them a world in which their gifts will be received gladly ¦ graciously, as from friend to friend, equal to i And to all of you -- parents, children, grandmother and grandfather, uncle and aunt--to aD of our readers -- I wish you good cheer, peace, health and happiness throughout this Christmas season and the new year to come. May God bless you and yours.