Last week I mentioned the lovely kids I’d met at a small school I visited as part of the disability awareness programme for work. I often find that children are quite shy at first, and sometimes they don’t really start asking many questions until the second session, a week after we first meet them. The questions often become more thoughtful and interesting, which was the case with this class. The teacher knew I was going to get a bus, so he told them they only had time for one more question before I left. A few put up their hands and shouted “sir, sir” enthusiastically. He picked a girl from fourth class who asked, what’s the best thing about being blind?
I’ve never been asked this by a child so young before, and wasn’t sure what to say at first. I told them that of course it was the fact that I get a free dog! They all laughed, and it gave me time to think of an honest answer.
The best thing about being blind for me is that I am not able to judge people straight away. I can’t make judgements on their appearance or by how they dress. I have to get to know them a bit first, and base my opinion of them on their personality. I explained to the children that of course I can make judgements about people without looking at them, and those judgements can also sometimes be made too quickly or unfairly, the same as sighted people can. The fact that I can’t see doesn’t necessarily make me less judgmental. It just means I can’t judge somebody by how they look, and that is something I am actually grateful for.
What’s your favourite thing about being blind?