The TLC show “7 Little Johnstons” follows around a family of little people, showing their daily life and all the trials and good times that go along with it.
During this week’s episode, the family took a trip to an amusement park where they ran into a group of kids who began shouting a derogatory term directly at them.
Dad Trent explained in a confessional:
“The ‘M-Word’ is not acceptable and it’s derogatory. This word is something that I guess gives us the thick skin. Unfortunately, we grew up hearing it, and we teach the kids how to handle it and how to deal with it. But we paid to be in this park just like everyone else, and we deserve the respect and the courtesy, just like everyone else.”
As their five kids explained, because most of the people in the town they are growing up in know who they are, they don’t often run into people who choose to call them “midgets.” So hearing it yelled at them so bluntly was shocking.
Trent knew he had to say something to the strangers after seeing it directly affecting their kids. He said:
“After it started affecting Alex and some of the other kids, it bugged us. As a dad, you have to step in sometimes and show your kids that you will stand up for them.”
While the kids were enjoying the ride, Trent waited by the exit gate to stop the strangers who were screaming the “M-Word” at his family. Turns out the group of kids were about the same age as his own.
Below is how the conversation unfolded:
Trent: Is this one of your buddies, too? What’s your name?
Trent: And what’s your name?
Trent: Hey, my name’s not midget.
Trent: My name is Trent. That’s what I go by, OK? We use each other’s names. Calling me a midget is like calling you another bad word that you probably wouldn’t like. You got it? Next time you see another little person say, ‘Hey, what’s your name?’
Following Trent’s discussion with the two boys, Enrique’s mother walked up to the family to see what was going on.
The mom introduced herself as Chloe:
Chloe: Hi, I’m Chloe.
Trent: Chloe, Trent. I was just letting them know that we aren’t midgets.
Chloe: *laughs* Oh, you crazy.
Trent: No, I’m for real. It’s a slang term.
Chloe: Honestly, I do apologize for whichever one of the kids said that, but they have never seen people your size before.
Trent: Exactly, which is why we liked to take a minute because the worst thing a parent can do is sit there spanking the kid, saying, “Hush, be quiet,” when the parent can just say, “Hey, ask them their name.”
Chloe: That’s what I told them to do.
Trent: Absolutely. Hey, you guys have a fun time and hopefully we don’t get rained on today.
The Johnston kids admitted they were proud of how their dad handled the situation.
Trent then explained to his kids that it’s OK for them to stand up for themselves, as long as they do it respectfully and professionally and leave the situation knowing they had made a positive impact.
To which Amber added, “It doesn’t matter what color you are, what shape you are, or what size you are, everybody has a name.”