Sunday, February 10, 2019

Fostering a Culture of Life

Children with Down syndrome are different from other children in significant ways. I don’t know that parenting them is more difficult, but the challenges are different. Pia has had cancer twice, and that means she’s spent almost a full year living in hospitals. Max has a lot of difficult sensory issues. But they’re amazing kids, and they have a lot in common with typical kids — they have the ordinary range of human emotions, the same social desires, the same desire to be loved, to be secure, to learn, to play. And they know every single word of Frozen. They’ll perform the whole movie for you as a duet, any time. 
We have learned a lot about weakness and love from them. We’ve learned to accept our own weaknesses. And we’ve learned from them how to ask for help without shame. Most especially, we’ve learned that, as a father, God rejoices when we turn to him in weakness and ask for his help. That’s been a great joy. 
It’s also been a great grace to be surrounded by a community, including our own son, who love and accept the kids just as they are — their cousins and the children of our friends know intuitively how to adapt games so our kids can play, and they so often model a very beautiful kind of patience. 
Finally, it has been a great joy to work with two different Catholic schools to build inclusive special-education programs. Our kids go to our parish school, they spend the day in the regular classroom, learning the same things as their peers. It takes a lot of work from school and home to make that happen, and we’ve been grateful to have had school communities willing to partner with us. It’s also a costly endeavor –we’re always fundraising for inclusive special education! (Read more.)

No comments: