Jordan took a little arm selfie with Winter on our way to the movie.

Today is the day we have waited a long time to happen… The release of Dolphin Tale 2! Jordan and I were incredibly lucky to have a chance to attend an early screening of the movie.

Jordan brought along her special Winter Dolphin stuffed animal and watched the whole movie intently. It was SO cool to see the movie with the experience of having met Winter and Hope back in 2011. The story of Winter and Hope is just as inspiring as the first movie. Seeing children and adults spend time with Winter always make me a bit weepy. The connection Winter brings to people living with physical and developmental differences is so special. I can’t help it. Just watching Jordan’s love of Winter and how the dolphin inspires her makes me tear up a bit. Thank you, Hanger Prosthetics, for taking the time to save Winter’s life and help inspire SO many people.

The coolest part of the movie? It has to be at the end when you get a chance to see Camp No Limits Florida campers meeting Winter. It’s a special part of the Florida camp each year. Even cooler? Some of our friends from the Missouri camp are in the movie! It inspired us to make sure Dolphin Tale 2 is a reason to launch our 2015 fundraiser for camp. Plus, Jordan is now SUPER interested in visiting the Florida camp. Maybe in 2016.

For now, we’re excited to start our 2015 fundraising for camp by launching a Born Just Right fundraising page and we hope you’ll consider sharing some support as well. Beyond the online fundraiser, we are planning a Dolphin Tale 2 fundraising event in our town. Some wonderful people are pitching in with donations and I can’t wait to raffle them off at a local movie theater event in October. (I had really hoped to hold the fundraiser this weekend but travel for work has put me behind in the planning!)

We also want to give you a gift for being awesome. At the bottom of this post, you have a chance to throw your name in the hat to win two free tickets to see Dolphin Tale 2! I am super lucky to have a handful of ticket pairs to send, so don’t be afraid to put your name into the hat. Just tell me what inspires you and you’ll have even more chances to win.

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Jordan is proud to be a unicorn

Yesterday’s post asking everyone to not stare, just ask spread far and wide. I’m honored so many people joined in on the conversation surrounding the topic. That post inspired an awesome discussion on Facebook based on a question a Born Just Right commenter had: If you’re encouraging someone to not stare and ask questions, how do you go about asking without feeling awkward? (In Jordan’s opinion, staring is the ultimate sign of awkward.)

One mom of a beautiful limb different daughter mentioned how her other children are much more sensitive to stares than her daughter. She often tells her girls, “If you saw a unicorn in a field of ordinary horses you would stare too.” I want to take that conversation it a step further… If we don’t change our conversation and awareness of differences, we won’t really know how to celebrate unicorns. Our unicorns are so awesome. If you’re staring, you are missing out.

As I revealed Jordan’s plea for an end to staring and asking for more questions, there has been some pushback, mainly by parents who do not feel comfortable encouraging their kids to ask questions. Some adults with physical differences say they are not comfortable with questions. Most children, teens and some adults say they would MUCH rather be a part of a polite and kind conversation over stares. But almost EVERYONE thinks it would be awesome if you could stop staring and at least say hi.

Obviously, life isn’t as easy as just saying “Don’t Stare, Just Ask.” But it is a great jumping point to open the conversation about ending rude staring.

Once you say hello and the person with a difference seems to be kind, in a good mood, and may be willing to explain how they live with a difference, there may be some ways to broach the topic without feeling awkward or invasive. Here are some of the ideas that were shared on Facebook. There’s a mix of adults with limb differences and parents of children with limb differences who left comments:
Christine M.: I personally hate questions from adults/older kids who don’t take the time to introduce themselves and meet me first. I just think it’s rude to expect people to explain their life stories to you when you don’t even take the time to acknowledge their personhood first.

Kathryn B.: “Part of it is in the tone. Loudly asking “Oh my God what happened?!” or “Where is your arm???” are NOT the right ways to approach it. I welcome questions but I find people are too scared/nervous/unsure of what/when/how to ask. At least, adults are. Kids are less inhibited and therefore more direct. A gentle, curious, “What happened to your arm”? is perfectly fine (for me anyway). But since I find that most people are too unsure to ask, I just directly say something if I want them to know. For example, at a job interview years ago I told the first person in the interview to diffuse any potential questions or stares, and then joked that I type faster than most people with two hands. Ultimately, for me it depends on the situation and person asking the question. But questions are always preferably over staring.”

Di D.: “Whatever question you have is a good one, as long as you are polite about it. It starts the communication, and that is the important part.”

Susan F.: “Whenever we see staring we just say hi to that person, very friendly! They will do one of two things, either they will say hi back and start talking to us or they will smile and walk away. We try really hard not to be upset by staring, although sometimes it’s a challenge when accompanied by whispered comments/insults. I would so much rather people ask questions than stare. I don’t think they know they are being rude, but……..LOL”

Leanna M.: “I have a hard time with questions about my daughter. I was taught to not stare, not to ask and not to make someone uncomfortable because it is none of my business what happened. I was told if I want to know why xyand z happens look it up at home. I think I am the only one taught this!!”
Christine M. replied to Leanna: “  I grew up that way, too. I personally won’t ask anyone because I figure it’s either none of my business or they’ll tell me if they want to do so (and I actually know the person). My high school mentor is an amputee and I still have no idea if it is congenital or not. It just doesn’t matter to me. My hand deformity is congenital, but she and I just never actually talked about either of our differences.”

Marina S.: “There is no non-rude way to ask about something that doesn’t concern one, whether a missing limb or a flower in someone’s hair. That said, aquestion asked with an attempt to get to know one as a person, accompanied by a bunch of other questions, is, imo, way less objectifying than a single out-of-context “what’s wrong with you?” question.”

Lauren B.: “I get asked what happened to my arm all the time and no matter where you go people will stare. I think a polite way to ask is just say you are curious and are interested in what happened. As long as youre polite, every question is welcomed.”

Miranda T.: “My daughter is also double above knee. She has so far been remarkably open when children inquire, considering she is so shy she won’t respond if they just say “hi.” I don’t know about asking though… I think for young children the curiosity is expected, but there comes a point when what is going on with someone’s body is just not your business. Little kids need to understand that the “strange” new thing they are seeing is ok, not dangerous, not contagious, etc, so they should ask and be educated, but a 12 year old should just get that it isn’t his business “what happened” to someone else. There was a time when kids would have frequently encountered questions like “how come your mom is white if you are black” etc, but now kids are taught that there are all types of families, and it isn’t a big deal, and you don’t have to know exactly how this one was created. I hope someday kids can get that there are all types of bodies, and it isn’t a big deal.”

You can see the full conversation here:

 

There really is no single solution solution to a simple plea: Stop staring. We are all different. We are all awesome. I asked a second question on how do you politely recognize someone who is different without staring or asking questions. The main answer: Just smile and say hi or nod. It’s kind and it shows that person you are treating him or her as you would anyone else. So let’s get to it! Let me know if you give it a try and how it made you feel.

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Can we teach our kids to stop staring?

September 10, 2014

Seriously. Can we raise children who choose to ask questions and speak directly to people who look or act differently? Can we have open conversations with our children to discuss why it can be so painful to whisper and point at people who are different or act differently? I’m so tired of it. Jordan’s tired [...]

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A cross country learning experience

September 9, 2014

I try to be in town for the most important things in my kids’ lives. But since I took a new job almost two years ago, I have missed a couple band concerts and a few school events. But most of the time, Randy is in town to help capture the moments so I don’t [...]

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Why I don’t share many limb difference photos other than Jordan

September 4, 2014

Photography is my one of my favorite past times. After years of working in the broadcast television industry, I picked up a solid eye for images. I love taking pictures of the family, nature, our dog, sports… You name it. But the one thing I’m trying to be more careful about is sharing photos of [...]

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The end of a season

September 3, 2014

As school continues in full swing and many kids in other parts of the country kick off a new school year, we are saying goodbye to our awesome pool. It’s a community that is full of regular people who like to hang out by a pool. There are no airs. There’s just fun and conversation. [...]

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Why I hide my arm – An adult perspective

August 29, 2014

I’d like to introduce you to Christine. I’m lucky to have met Christine during this summer’s Nubability Athletics camp. (I snagged her for a selfie – she’s notorious about avoiding photography.) She attended the summer camp as an adult mentor. Before meeting her in person, she has offered fantastic insight on the Born Just Right [...]

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Even Jordan gets nervous in new situations

August 28, 2014

I had mentioned earlier this week that Jordan was jumping into cross country. She jumped into all kinds of running events in the last year and wants to join in on kid triathlons next year. I’m really excited for her because she’s turning into a great runner and cross country is a fun way to [...]

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How to respond to difficult questions

August 27, 2014

A physical difference is noticeable… and many cultures around the world struggle with accepting differences. Even if we live in a culture that doesn’t make it easy to live with a physical difference, I focus on helping Jordan grow up with confidence and the knowledge that she can try it all with one hand. A [...]

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Cross country season and other new changes

August 26, 2014

Today kicks off a brand new season of activities for the kids. Jordan has decided that she wants to start working toward her goal of participating in triathlons by joining our town’s youth cross country program. She and I started running together last year and she’s really taken to it. I’m excited she’s willing to [...]

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How Winter the Dolphin inspires Jordan

August 25, 2014

One month after the movie, Dolphin Tale, was released, our family had a special gift of visiting Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. October 2011 will forever be a special memory for us. But it also changed the way we view prosthetics in our household.  When Jordan was a baby and we started using prosthetics, [...]

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Celebrating the new school year while Mom is away

August 19, 2014

I have an amazing opportunity to speak at a TEDx event at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida today. I’s a huge honor but it also means I’m missing the kids’ first day of school. I know there are a lot of parents who are never able to send their kids off on the [...]

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Back to school planning before third grade

August 18, 2014

Jordan heads back to elementary school this week. She’s kicking off third grade with a lot of excitement. She tells me she is looking forward to everything… Even the homework! Earlier this summer, she told me she felt like third grade was a good time to stop creating yearly class books that tell her story. [...]

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An Under Armour thank you

August 15, 2014

Zippers are not impossible with an upper limb difference, but it can be something that takes a little extra time. Jordan learned how to zip at Camp No Limits many years ago. But when Under Armour announced last year it was producing MagZip clothing for the 2014 fall season, I couldn’t wait. When I noticed [...]

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The gift of friendship near and far

August 15, 2014

It’s pretty amazing how many connections we have made from the limb difference world thanks to Born Just Right. This summer, our travel gave us opportunities to meet many new adults and children in the limb difference world. A combination of Camp No Limits, Nubability Camp and a trip to California where we held two [...]

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