Rights v Privilege

Before I write about this let’s look at what each means. I’ve thrown honour in also as it’s important to understand what that means too.

the difference between privilege and honour is that privilege is a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor; a right or immunity not enjoyed by others or by all; special enjoyment of a good, or exemption from an evil or burden; a prerogative; advantage; franchise; preferential treatment while honour is recognition of importance or spiritual value; respect. ~ Wikidiff

Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory ~ Wikipedia

For the past eight weeks I’ve had an internal dialogue running about how privileged I am. How setting up a social group for my son to find his tribe was such a privilege for me.

It’s time I changed my narrative. It’s not a privilege it’s an honour. The reason is I don’t feel that I have a peculiar benefit over my son because he’s autistic and I am not. I’ve never felt that. I feel it’s my moral duty though for the rest of the world to realise that my son is a clever, funny and charming young man. His normal and my normal are the same. The difference between him and me is our gender and the generation we represent and it’s high time the rest of the world got on board.

Variance or difference is something we all experience. It’s why I love peanut butter and my daughter loves vegemite. It’s why the world is a wonderfully exciting place. How boring would life be if we all like the same things. If we all agreed on everything. I love nothing more than a robust but respectful debate even if I play devil’s advocate to invite critical thinking.

In my now carefully curated circle of friends there are people who have little understanding of autism but I know they are interested and open minded. The plight of fringe dwellers or minority groups is a genuinely difficult plight. They face a division and vulnerability I personally don’t live with. As a parent of a fringe dweller I witness it and that’s the closest I will get.

My son just last week said to me and these are his words “Mum the mainstream kids at school really like me”. This made me so happy but also so sad also. My son at 16 thinks he doesn’t belong with these mainstream kids but it was comforting to hear that perhaps that gap between my son and his mainstream peers maybe closing.

I suggested to him he venture out of the segregated unit where he lunches and hangs with his peers. I said to him “mate you’re a mainstream person too”. “Buddy you have a lot to offer as a friend”. He’s very nervous about this but I’ll keep encouraging him.

I have another running internal video which is a prediction of the future. It’s my son’s formal and we’re proudly taking photos and hanging off my son is about six mates, arms around each other celebrating the end of 13 years of education.

Until this year this vision seemed unlikely but now this fundamental right to be accepted and to belong may just become my son’s reality.

Anyway back to this social group it most certainly is an honour to be a co-founder. To meet an amazing group of brave kids. To see their siblings relax and to get to know parents who understand my journey with no explanation or justification needed.

I’m not complaining but the reality is this group is consuming all my time. It’s placed me in situations way beyond my comfort zone. I am on a huge learning curve and I am loving this so much. I thought I was broke eight weeks ago. Pfft! I am spending every spare cent on establishing this group. If there’s something on sale and I know we need it for the group I’m rattling my money box and turning over cushions in my couch to find cashola.

It’s inevitable that we will become incorporated and achieve NFP status. If anyone reads this and wants to be part of this grassroots social enterprise feel free to send funds our way. We can guarantee a tax receipt down the line. I’m not comfortable asking for money but this is something our community needs. It’s something our community is benefiting from. There’s 130 odd parents in our closed Facebook group feeling like they belong and watching their kids every Friday night leave their bedroom and seek out the company of their tribe.

And as Pat Benetar sings:

Many times I tried to tell you

Many times I cried alone

Always I’m surprised how well you cut my feelings to the bone

Don’t want to leave you really

I’ve invested too much time to give you up that easy

To the doubts that complicate your mind

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder

We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under

Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better

We belong, we belong, we belong together

Maybe it’s a sign of weakness when I don’t know what to say

Maybe I just wouldn’t know what to do with my strength anyway

Have we become a habit? Do we distort the facts?

Now there’s no looking forward

Now there’s no turning back

When you say

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder

We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under

Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better

We belong, we belong, we belong together

Close your eyes and try to sleep now

Close your eyes and try to dream

Clear your mind and do your best to try and wash the palette clean

We can’t begin to know it, how much we really care

I hear your voice inside me, I see your face everywhere

Still you say

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder

We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under

Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better

We belong, we belong, we belong together

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder

We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under

Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better

We belong, we belong, we belong together

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder

Songwriters: Daniel Anthony Navarro / David Eric Lowen

We Belong lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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