Yes, Joey had the lead role in a play at our church one season. Well…not really, but HE felt like he did! And to this day, years later, he still thinks so. Just ask him! While he wasn’t the star, there were some real stars, however!
When our church music director/worship leader set out to do the Christmas play, he didn’t just cast the favorite church actors he could rely upon, he also cast some of the people in our “special needs” community who had few if any verbal skills and no ability to memorize any lines. He approached us and a few other parents of children with special needs ever so graciously asking if we might be “interested” in having our children participate in the play, and then we talked about how that would look, that a ‘buddy’ would be needed to help our children, and he proceeded to give such thoughtful direction to the inclusion of our kids. The “talking parts” had to go to those who could memorize and really act them out, but several of our special needs group got to be themselves on stage depicting some special needs situations in the scenes. And I’m telling you…they loved it. The play itself include several characters with special needs and they did an excellent job sharing the message through their scripted words…but including Joey and others in the mix did several things:
· It made the story more believable and real.
· It made them feel “special” – like they were the stars of the play!
· It showed our church cared about this group and their story.
· It gave many a deep respect for our music director including them and an appreciation for life with one with special needs because of the story line and the way the story worked out.
· It brought the message home straight to the people’s hearts.
It’s not always easy to cast and include those with special needs in other various activities in the church who are nonverbal, noisy, active, and “unable”… but when someone does … they’re the ones who become the real star.
Thanks to those who think outside the box of their own comfort zone to share the spot light with those who seldom (if ever) get it. They’re the rock stars and real stars of these productions!