Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Father of a child with a Disablity

I sort of hate that title, a "child with a disability". Instead I wish we could recognize that we all have unique qualities that do not always reflect what is normal. I hate even more the title "Mentally Retarded" and hate it when people call each other "Retarded" as a put down. What if we turned that phrase around and it was a positive label to call someone: Wow, your love, you hug, your smile, your joy, your simplicity, your faith, your concern, your work, your play, your life is just like someone who is Mentally Retarded, yes that good!
I have a child who has a designer set of chromosomes, which makes her unique and often I can judge someones authentic caring by how they treat her. So many can talk about how to care for someone, how to love, and can care for "normal" people that way, they can even have pity for someone less fortunate, but to authentically care for someone who is does not fit others definition of normal, means treating them as 'normal', no more no less. It may take a bit of extra care to listen to my daughter's speech, because she has low muscle tone and it is hard for her to pronounce certain words, it takes extra patience because she does not always process information as fast as those of us with college degrees, and it may take extra guidance when she is unable to make a decision cause she just isn't sure, and it may take extra kind of assurance when she gets afraid, sudden noises startle her easily, and it might take extra care to help her understand since she has gaps in her intellectual understanding and function, and it might mean helping her stretch a bit further cause she can be lazy, but what if we practiced that sort of extra with everyone we meet? Maybe we could learn to understand one another better, help one another better and make a better world together? I just hate it when all we seem to be good at is divide one another, put down one another, commit acts of violence toward one another. My faith teaches me there is a different way, one in which we can be the beloved community, if we just take a little extra time and effort, or in some cases extraordinary amounts of time and effort. I love it when you and I can care for one another with abundant love! It is what I have learned from my child with a disability, we can if we only want to.

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