As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves! Jesus didn’t put any qualifiers on this command. We aren’t just called to love those who look like us or act like us. We aren’t just called to love those who are able-bodied and neurotypical. In Christ, we have a call to love every single person! And as Christian parents, we have the responsibility to raise kids who do the same.
Summer will be over before we even know it! And equipping our kids with the knowledge that will help them love and include those with disabilities when they head back to school this fall starts now with the conversations we’re having at home!
Many of us feel uncomfortable talking to our kids about disabilities because we may not know much about different diagnoses or medical equipment. We may not even know how to start this conversation! This is why I am going to spend the rest of the summer helping you facilitate discussions about differences and disabilities at home!
Each Monday, you’ll get an email from me giving you resources and discussion questions to help you talk through one topic within the broader topic of disability. I’ll help you talk to your kids about inclusion, limb differences, mobility devices, intellectual disabilities, facial differences, and more! My hope is that you will feel confident talking through these topics with your kids so that they will feel confident initiating friendship with those who have disabilities and visible differences when they head back to school in August!
You will not need a copy of “Image Bearer” for this series of emails to be helpful to you! I’ll be including lots of different resources you can utilize each week. But I do think “Image Bearer” is a great resource to help you start discussions around the topic of disability through a Biblical lens. You can order your copy today at www.imagebearerbook.com.
Week 1: Differences
Big Idea- Differences are a beautiful part of God’s creation!
When God created the world, he created it with great variety and diversity. He created lots of different kinds of plants, lots of different planets and stars, lots of different species of animals. When he created human beings, he created all of them with one important thing in common- he created each of them in his image! But he didn’t make us all the same! He made men and women. He made people with different colors of skin, some with freckles and some with birthmarks. He made people with different colored eyes and different colors and textures of hair. He made people different heights. He gave people different personalities. And, today, we also see another kind of diversity in God’s creation- diversity of ability!
In God’s creation, there are lots of people with two arms and some people with only one or even none! In God’s creation, there are lots of people who can see with their eyes and some people who cannot. In God’s creation, there are lots of people who communicate by speaking and there are some who communicate in a different way. They might use sign language or facial expressions or even fancy communication devices. There are lots of different kinds of people in God’s creation and these things are true about all of them:
EVERY person was created by God fearfully and wonderfully!
EVERY person is made in God’s image!
EVERY person desired to be loved and accepted!
EVERY person can be a friend!
This week, we’ll be talking about differences!
Image Bearer by Ellie Sanazaro- This book teaches how God made every person in his image and focuses specifically on people with disabilities and visible differences. You can purchase this book here.
You can read through Luke 10:25-37 (the story of the Good Samaritan) in your Bible or you can watch this video of the story on YouTube here.
What are some of the different things God created? Why do you think he didn’t just make one kind of fruit, one kind of animal, and one kind of person? Why did he include so much variety?
What are some ways people can be different? (You can talk through age, gender, skin color, eye color and shape, hair color and texture, personality, interest, ability, body shape, etc. You can talk about how the people in your household are all different as well as look through the illustrations in the books and talk through the differences you see.)
What are some ways all people are the same, no matter how different they might seem? (All people are made by God. All people are made in God’s image. All people are valuable. All people desire to belong. All people desire to be loved and accepted. All people can be a friend.)
How do you feel when you meet someone who seems very different than you? (Let this question be a safe place for your child to talk through possible feelings of apprehension, shyness, or even fear they might experience when around someone who is different.)
How does God want us to treat people who seem very different from us?
How can you show God’s love when you meet someone who seems different than you at the playground or at school?
Instagram accounts to follow:
@specialbooksbyspecialkids- This is an incredible instagram account and youtube channel that interviews people with various visible differences and disabilities. Watching these videos with your kids can help them grow in empathy for those with differences.
@imagebearerbook- This is my account. It features lots of different kids with various diagnoses and gives tips for inclusion.
@theablefables- This is the account of a fellow inclusive children’s book author. On it, you’ll see lots of different kids with various disabilities and visible differences.
That's all for week 1! I hope this resource will help you as you navigate conversations about disabilities and differences with your kids!