#CHOOSEKIND - Part 2 - by Heath
As I stated in my previous post, this movie is amazing and I am thankful for the people in my life who convinced me to see it when I probably would have chosen to do something much less serious with my Saturday night! If you missed it- CLICK HERE FOR PART 1. Besides a heartwarming story about Auggie and how he overcomes adversity due to a facial deformity, there is also a very important side story about Auggie’s sister Via, and how his deformity and the attention it requires affects her.
Via is older and went from being an only child to an afterthought, because she didn’t need the attention and medical care that her little brother did. While putting on a good show, she is truly struggling to make and keep friends and is in dire need of her parents’ attention but doesn’t want to take them away from Auggie’s needs. She has a wonderful grandmother who sees that Via has needs that aren’t being addressed by her parents, but unfortunately grandmothers aren’t around forever and at some point their love needs to be replaced. We see how Via handles her very difficult adolescent years without prying away her parents from Auggie’s needs. She has a lot going on and it clearly affects her daily interactions with people as she navigates through these difficult and awkward years of life. She hides her true feelings from mostly everyone and yurns for an outlet for these emotions.
The lesson here for those who work with children (and ANYONE who works with people- that’s EVERYONE!) is that we don’t know what anyone’s life is like when they are not in our presence. We are more likely to be informed and confided in by children, colleagues, clients, etc. when we take the time to make personal connections with them. In turn, we gain trust and encourage more honest and meaningful conversations. We can more easily understand why someone is acting a certain way and more effectively respond and provide support when we have this information. We teach our staff during orientation- you must CONNECT to earn RESPECT. We create intentional programs for campers and staff to encourage diversity and kindness and to intervene appropriately in situations where children are not treating each other respectfully.
As you can see I believe it is important for everyone to see this movie and talk about it with their friends and family. Thank you again to R.J. Palacio, who wrote the book that this movie was based on for giving me inspiration for my first posts. I would love to discuss the movie and these ideas with anyone who wants to talk!