When my son was 11 years old, he got a small job helping out with a travelling carnival while it was in our town.
He didn’t come home at lunch time, phoning instead to tell me he was fine and had found a few days work helping out at an exhibit. He turned up for supper as usual however after he finished work.
I asked him how he had managed at lunch and he told me he had made some new friends at the carnival, some young men who were twin brothers and their mum and dad. They had paid him a few dollars and invited him for lunch in return for helping them set up their exhibit and wanted him to return the next day to help with other chores I was glad he had found new friends but a little apprehensive about the type of people that might be travelling in a carnival.
“Oh Mum, these are just normal everyday people like anyone else. They just work at a carnival instead of in a store or something. Come down tomorrow and meet them yourself”, he said.
So the next day I went to the carnival and to the exhibit he had directed me to. The twin brothers turned out to be Siamese twins, joined at the chest. He hadn’t thought this fact was noteworthy enough to mention.
When I talked about it later to him he said, “Yes, I noticed that too. Do you know that their mum has to make all their clothes because it’s so difficult to find anything to fit them? They’re also really good cooks. Today, Joe, the one on the right, made me spaghetti for lunch.”
What others see first in a person (or people) is not what a child considers important. Where I saw Siamese twins, he saw people having difficulty buying clothes that fit and young men who were good cooks.
It was a lesson I have thought about many times over the years.
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