What’s “Normal? ” MAG

By Gilbert P., Peoria, AZ

     This year I have spent time at the city’s dances for the handicapped to fulfill my service hours. At first I was troubled by the idea of working with the mentally handicapped because I had never been around them before. I went with a friend and when I walked into the auditorium, I was astonished. They arrived in groups with leaders and waited for the doors to open for what seemed the highlight of their week.

Once I was there for a few minutes, I wasn’t uncomfortable at all. I actually became interested in what they had to say, and as the weeks passed, it was clear how excited they were to see familiar faces every Friday night. I realized I meant something to them when I skipped a Friday and they asked where I had been. I was missed!

This was the first time I felt I truly had a place in a stranger’s life. Toward the end of my experience, I knew their stories and faces and felt things I had never experienced. I realized my preconceived notions about the mentally handicapped were wrong. They are all people like us. They love life and take it for everything it’s worth. Now I look back and realize what an effect they had on me. I have learned to love every minute of life and be thankful that I was born the way I was. Meeting them made me respect all handicapped people for their daily struggles. They taught me that no one can judge what is “normal.”

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

i love this so much!


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!