A friend of mine is a teacher in a primary school. She felt that the approach to encouraging and teaching a class of 6 and 7 years olds about disability, diversity and how people overcome adversity needed freshening up a little. So she showed them this image.
Most of the children laughed. I admit I laughed when I first saw this image, the simplicity of it appealed to my peterpanicity™ factor. I’ve made that word up by the way as a term to define that inner child most of us still have.
The teacher, let’s call her Emma, asked the children what they actually thought of the image generally. One boy pointed out that Bob could actually still be knocking at the door using his knees. Emma asked him to demonstrate this. From there a general discussion ensued about how Bob could knock on the door without any arms. This wasn’t done in a light hearted manner the children took Bob’s challenge pretty seriously and demonstrated some pretty exceptional levels of creativity and ingenuity. Emma took them through a series of activities and discussions to explore a whole world of adversity including blindness (and partially sighted). The children responded brilliantly and the whole point was to enable them to understand and appreciate that people are people, we all have challenges, we all struggle with certain things from dyslexia to hearing loss to more severe forms of disablement. We all deserve respect and admiration for who we are and we all deserve understanding. Excuse me for some brevity here, Emma is a teacher and explains the whole lesson in a far more animated and professional manner than I ever could.
To finish Emma showed the children a short video montage of clips from the Paralympics and also of former servicemen with disabilities undertaking extraordinary feats. Emma then set the children some homework that required the participation of their parents. It included a printout of this image and some very simple activities to be done in their home environment to enable the children to appreciate how challenging things can be for some people and how amazing we all are in the face of adversity.
Guess what happened next?