Are you kind and respectful to all people even to those who look or behave differently than you do?

My brother, Harold, had Parkinson’s disease. My nephew, Larry, told me that often when he and his father went to restaurants or stores, individuals would treat Harold like he was mentally ill or dangerous.  They would talk real loud, as if he couldn’t hear.  They would look beyond him and ask me what he wanted.  They would treat him like a child and look disgusted when he drooled.  Some would just point and stare.

Jim Kok, author of the book The Miracle of Kindness, writes, “Since this reaction is not rare, The Parkinson’s Advocacy Group has printed small yellow cards that the person can carry in his wallet.  Then he can (or the caregiver can) hand the card to those who are being unkind or rude, and hopefully the recipient will rethink his attitude and behavior.”  Here, in part, is what the card says:

I am not under the influence of alcohol, nor am I mentally ill.  I have Parkinson’s disease.  It is not contagious…it is a movement disorder.

I am not under the influence of alcohol, nor am I mentally ill.  I have Parkinson’s disease.  It is not contagious…it is a movement disorder.

Phil, a person in the early stages of Parkinson’s says, “The response is stunningly effective.  After reading the card, peoples’ attitude and behavior changes 180 degrees.  Suddenly they see a real person—not a threat.”

Jim Kok, continues with, “How easy it is to stereotype people on the basis of some unimportant mannerism, appearance or trait.  Followers of Jesus, as well as everyone else, should not have to read a card before they are kind and respectful!”


Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.

1 Comment

  1. Larry George

    This morning I was reading your article on “I have Parkinson’s” and was reminded once again the hurt I went through with my dad.Yes the article above was me. It has been almost 14 years since dad went home to be with the Lord and able to rest his tried Parkinson’s riddled body. To those of you that are care givers let me just say. “It is with the hurt”. One Sunday several years ago after dad passed I entered a public restroom where a young man was helping his father, just liked I helped my dad years before. Once situated in the stall the young man waited at the sink and told his father to let him know if he needed any help. The young man looked up to see me standing there. He was embarrassed and tried to apologized for blocking the sink, and at the same time explain in an awkward way about his father. I knotted my head in agreement and said. it’s ok , I completely understand .The man had a puzzled look on his face but relaxed. After wiping my hands I turned and said. What you’re doing is worth the frustration and effort. I too have been where you are and believe it or not one day you too will cherish these bitter sweet times. After leaving the restroom , I felt as if dad was still here. Thank you Lord , for giving me the wonderful opportunity of taking care of my dad. It wasn’t easy , but then , raising me wasn’t a picnic either. Lol.
    Love you dad. Thank you for loving me,

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