Rednecks catch a lot of flack for stuff like this. We laugh at the pictures of grills made from toilet bowls, Old Foxworthy cooking 20 hot dogs over a fire… at one time… with a rake, or Jethro using his washing machine as a cooler. But, for all the grief we give them, we have to acknowledge that they are creative and resourceful. I don’t know about you, but I think the washing machine as a cooler is an ingenious idea.
No, this isn’t a blog about how we should learn how to care for people suffering from mullet infatuation disorder, but unlike a right turn signal in a NASCAR, I do have a point.
Being creative and resourceful is what inclusion is all about. Our beloved redneck didn’t let the fact that he didn’t have a pool keep him from soaking his feet, no sir. He grabbed a tarp, some duct tape, and a hose, and made himself a pool. Bo and Luke Duke didn’t let the fact that the General Lee didn’t have door handles keep them from getting in the car, heck naw. They jumped through them thar windows quicker than a Obama leaving a Skynyrd concert. No barrier is too high, no gap is too far, and no teeth is no excuse. They find a way.
This weekend I had the privilege of watching some creative, resourceful people finding a way to include. Saturday morning we went to a 5K for Autism Awareness with our friends the Poosers and the Kristians. Our family walked in the 1 mile fun run and Jeni got her Kenyan on for the 5K. Caedmon, the super fan that he is, wanted to be at the finish line to cheer his mom to victory. I set him up at the line, right on the road, and he watched for Jeni. She wasn’t in first. Runner upon runner was headed up the hill ahead of our little engine that could, so Caedmon decided to share his bountiful enthusiasm with them. He held his right hand out in the air and began high-fiving the runners as they crossed the line.
The MC noticed the runners countenance transform from grimace to grin and realized it was because of Caedmon. So, she asked me his name and began encouraging the runners, “Make sure you get your high-five from Caedmon, he will make you smile!” She saw that he wanted to be involved and she found a way. I walked over to check on Caedmon’s brothers, actually to check on the kids his brothers might have been wrestling, when I heard, “Gooo!” Caedmon was cheering into the PA system!
The MC had squatted down by Caedmon and was letting him cheer those stragglers home. “Go, Go, Go.” He grinned, and cheered, and high-fived until almost every runner had finished. (He would have stayed the whole time but we didn’t want to be late for pancakes.)
He didn’t run the 5K, but he made a difference for autism. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of the boy in the wheelchair sitting on her finish line, but she grabbed the proverbial duct tape and made his day.
All the while, across town, another event was taking place. It was called the “Walk, Run, Roll” and people were utilizing all sorts of mobility devices to participate in a fun-run of their own. Wheel chairs, walkers, Nike’s, and golf carts were cruising the streets of Tallahassee in their creative, redneck glory and including anyone who had the desire. Awesome.
Sunday morning was just as sweet. I walked into the sanctuary as the music was beginning. Caedmon was sitting in his chair, next to Mrs. Kristy as always, but Jackson was missing. I’d made it about half way down the aisle when I noticed that it was actually Jackson sitting in the wheelchair and Caedmon was the one missing. I gave it a double take and noticed everyone trying to get me to look on stage. I didn’t see it at first, because the pulpit was blocking my view, but Caedmon was playing the drums! Our drummer, Paul, has been asking Caedmon to come up and play the drums with him for months. This morning, Jeni was singing so I guess Caedmon felt OK about going up there. Paul had him on his left knee, Caedmon was holding the sticks, and Paul was holding Caedmon’s hands helping him keep perfect time. When the song was over, I grabbed Caedmon to take him back to his seat and when I turned around and faced the congregation, they clapped for C-dog and he smiled so hard I could feel it. I was proud of everybody.
Caedmon’s wheelchair wouldn’t fit behind the drums, so Paul used his knee. He wasn’t afraid to ask Caedmon to do something that, on the surface, appeared impossible. Like a redneck wanting to soak his feet, Paul resolved to find a way. Inclusion wasn’t optional.
I bet you would have done the same thing. You are creative. You are resourceful. You can come up with the next ingenious concept that includes people. If our hero can turn a pick’em-up into a swimmin’ pool; you can find a way to include somebody. I would love to hear how you’ve done it. Please share your stories of inclusion. They can be your personal accounts, or moments you’ve witnessed but please share them. They will inspire our creativity and produce more smiles.
This picture has no relevance whatsoever, other than it made me laugh…