Sunday, May 30, 2010

Medals for Mothers

When it all feels overwhelming, I am sometimes reduced to a despondent inner dialogue that includes: "Do you honestly think you're going to get some sort of medal for tackling this?"

Well, apparently the notion isn't as preposterous as it sounds.

Taiwan, believe it or not, is a beacon of light for all those Western societies that pride themselves on their political correctness, their eradication of discrimination and their utterly equal opportunities for all.

For the past 17 years the Taiwanese government has been conferring the annual "Loving Mother" award on mothers caring for their disabled children. My own country, still suspicious of parents who choose to keep severely disabled children at home, is aeons away from such an award. If you are aware of another country with such an award please let us know.

Here is the report about that award:

Taipei, May 24 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou met Monday with 10 mothers who were honored for their dedication to the care of their disabled children and he praised them for their strength, saying they reminded him of the mother of the movie character "Forrest Gump." Ma said he is always moved to tears whenever he watches that film, which he said he has seen three times. The most moving part of the film is the strength the mother shows in raising her mentally challenged son, the president said.

Ma praised the mothers, saying they have overcome difficulties to open up the world for themselves and their children. He said he was particularly touched by the story of two women who adopted disabled children and raised them as their own.

One of the women, a special education teacher Chu Hsiao-hsia, began to take care of one of her autistic students when his parents separated. She taught him life skills and together they learned to cook.

Chu and her adopted son, now 19, were both certified as Chinese cooks and she opened an eatery which he manages and at which other disabled people work.

According to the Taiwan Disability-Free Association, which has been sponsoring the "loving mother" award for the last 17 years, the focus this year was on how mothers and children grow and evolve as a result of life's challenges. (By Garfie Li and Kay Liu)

The full article is here.

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