noun: acceptance; plural noun: acceptances
- agreement with or belief in an idea or explanation.
- the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.
- willingness to tolerate a difficult situation.
It seems somewhat trivial to use the definition of “acceptance” as the start of a blog post. We learn from a young age to accept things, to be accepting of situations, difficulties, others and our ability to demonstrate acceptance only strengthens with experience. Whether it is a trivial matter, or something more robust and difficult, we learn to accept things. Sometimes, simply because we have to.
As aforementioned in previous posts, my father has never accepted my brother… My brother with autism. Dad always wanted a “normal” boy; no doubt someone he could coax into long bike rides, trips to the pub, use as an extra pair of hands down the allotment. Someone to discuss the ins and outs of life with, to watch films with, to have a laugh with. I mean, who can blame him? A father often wants a son; someone to follow in their footsteps, someone they can shape and mould into a ‘fine young man’. It must have been heartbreaking when he realised that he wouldn’t have that with C.
What is more heartbreaking for me, is that he could. Yes, it may not be to the extent that he wishes. But he could take him on bike rides, he could take him for fish and chips and a Pepsi at the pub, he could take him down to the allotment (C manages his own poly-tunnels at college, he’s a dab hand in the garden!)… But he doesn’t. Or at least he doesn’t unless he is goaded in to doing so.
This rubs off on Dads perception of how others see C. Dad panics when I say a friend is coming over, or brushes off plans with those who aren’t over familiar with C. Excuses of C and his behaviour are often raised: “who knows how he will act”, “he’s too unpredictable”, “maybe another time”. Really, the only person who isn’t accepting C in these scenarios is Dad.
C has met a lot of my friends, both past and current. Never has he hurt, offended or aggravated anyone. He’s a curious fellow; I’ll never forget the day the girls and I went out for my 18th, and C couldn’t understand the concept of skin colour tights… After asking to touch, he was quite fascinated by pulling them and watching them spring back to our legs. Everyone found this hilarious… Everyone accepted him.
I don’t think Dad will ever understand that my generation is generally more accepting. We’ve grown up being exposed to media and further educational platforms regarding learning difficulties, mental health, physical impairments. We are able and we are encouraged to discuss things that we aren’t too sure about, that we know nothing about, or even things that we may be a little afraid of. Our education regarding those with a higher level of need is much more thorough, and we have been lucky to grow up in a time where people aren’t cast away or locked up on the grounds of their physical or mental ability/agility.
It is sad that Dad will not accept C. He is tarnishing their bond, and he is not giving C the father-son relationship he craves and deserves. I am grateful however that he is one of the few people in my life that has this view. It is a shame however that he is someone so close to C, and he has an inability to understand him, and most importantly, to accept him.