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Wednesday 18 December 2013

Some Little Ting

My grandmother O'Brien taught my brother and me some valuable lessons in life.  One of the most valuable has been the phrase, "some little ting wrong."  This was Nan's phrase that was repeated by our mother.  Like all children, we were curious if we met someone with a disability, deformity, unusual behavior. 

If we asked any questions, or seemed to notice, the response was, "There's some little ting wrong."  Ting was thing.  This was followed by questions on our part and explanations of what was "wrong."

The key here though was 'little.' It made the "thing" not a big issue, but something different.  If however we ever laughed at or made fun of someone, the response would be the warning, "You're not dead yet."

The first time I heard the part about death I didn't know what it meant.  Of course I was warned that I didn't know what could happen to me (or someone I loved) before I died.  How would I want to be treated because that's how I should treat others.  Believe me if someone tells you " You're not dead yet,"  when you're a child, you listen!  We didn't get the traditional Golden Rule vernacular.

Today we don't consider differences to be wrong.  However, for the time it was, the phrase held us in good stead.  Also I won't be saying to our granddaughters and didn't tell Claire the part about death. We have better ways to get the message across today.

The fact that we talked about whatever we saw or encountered in life was the important thing.  Knowledge gave rise to understanding, empathy and compassion.  That really was "some little ting right."

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