It’s never easy to be different…but it’s always worth it!
When growing up it seems like kids always made fun of other kids who were “different” than “the norm.” Whether it was kids who: were overweight, dressed in different fashions, wore glasses, etc.
Now that I’m a parent and my son is starting school and sports I worry not only about what kind of social interactions he’s having but also about his safety. How does a parent address safety issues in sports without making his/her child a “target” for bullies?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, every 13 minutes an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury. 40% of sports eye injuries occur in children between 11-14 years-old. And according to Prevent Blindness America 90% of all eye injuries are preventable with proper eyewear. Another fact for you, 21% of traumatic brain injuries among United States children and adolescents are from you guessed it, sports.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love sports and I do not believe eliminating sports is the answer to these injuries. I believe the answer is for parents to teach our children that protective eyewear and helmets aren’t dorky, goofy and especially aren’t stupid. We as parents have to teach our children that bicycle helmets are cool and we must teach by example. (Remember we are still at risk for injury.) The more people who wear protective eyewear and helmets the less “different” it will become. When you tell your son/daughter to put on his/her shin guards for soccer he/she may ask you why. You simply say, “To protect your shins.” When you hand him/her protective eyewear and he/she wants to know why he/she has to wear it you simply say, “It’s to protect your eyes.” We want to protect our children from as much as possible and if I’m protecting my son from a bruise on his shin shouldn’t I be protecting his eyes and brain?
Remember… “The hardest struggle of all is to be something different from what the average man is” – Charles Schwab But, it will always be worth it!