I was shopping for doors the other day with my husband (I want a back door that lets more sun come into my kitchen!!) and I started thinking about how “open doors” do let us connect to the outside and to so many other things…
In a time of such unrest both with COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter protests, it has made me, and I am sure many of us, reflect on what we can do to make a difference. So here we are closing doors to keep us socially distant and safe from the virus but we also need to think about how we can open doors to increase our awareness of injustice that is happening right in our own communities. I recently read an article about a woman who opened the door for her washer repairman and started a conversation with him about his experiences with racial discrimination. She listened to him and became aware of his challenges and is now actively supporting his business. That conversation has also led to talks in her city on how to improve relations in their town. Opening doors is a start.
This has also made me reflect on other doors that have been opened. For many years, I opened that same door that I am looking now to replace to provide speech-language therapy in my home. A lot of children came through that door with lots of different communicative needs. It was a great speech therapy private practice for me as I could work at home but also for the children I was working with as I could provide a lot of real-life situations in a home environment. So, my own children grew up with me providing therapy to children with developmental challenges right there at our kitchen table or on the living room floor. And every opportunity I had, I pulled my children into the sessions to give the child I was working with a chance to practice greetings, turn taking, eye contact, speech sounds or just good old conversation! But the real door opener was what my three children gained from the experience; they now seem to have a greater awareness of children with communication needs, which has helped them become inclusive, welcoming, and empathetic to not just children with special needs but with all people that are different.
So as we go forward with more weeks of keeping behind closed doors with a pandemic still controlling our lives, let us hope that we can “have that door opening conversation” with others who may communicate, look, live, or believe differently than we do because now, in the midst of such turbulence, is the time that we need to listen and be open to others.