Embrace Our Differences
Updated: Feb 9
"United we stand, divided we fall." - Aesop
While this blog was inspired by a YouTube short shared by a father of a son born with Down syndrome, I write it dedicated to the memory of all who were killed in the tragedy of 9/11. During the aftermath we were the most united we have ever been, at least in my lifetime. I hope we can become united like that again, by choice and without a major occurrence of a tragedy.
I verily enjoy swiping through YouTube shorts. I never used to engage in social media much, but I have to say this activity has captured my attention. Maybe too much of my attention 😂. Anyway, I was scrolling and came upon a short about a father sharing a bit about his son who was born with Down syndrome. It is actually a Tik Tok channel #TeamTripp. It made me cry tears of joy. I rarely comment, but on occasion I come across some joyous things where I share my gratefulness to the people who choose to share their private lives with all of us. This time I got a bit carried away. It was an extremely long comment. While I was typing I thought this would actually be a good blog. So here it is:
"This made me cry happy tears, especially since the family recognizes that this beautiful boy was sent FOR them and not the other way around! Bravo! I am reminded of a time not too long ago that babies born with Down syndrome were mainly institutionalized under horrible conditions. Thankfully, Jerome Lejeune discovered the extra chromosome behind Down syndrome in 1959 making it possible for the derogatory labels to be dropped.
Also, thanks to the intelligence and bravery of a couple in the 1960's whose baby was born with Down syndrome, I say bravery because I can imagine in 1960 communities would provide unsolicited negative opinions, who said "Heck with the system" and started reaching out to other parents with the same opportunity of raising a child with Down syndrome. They eventually organized the National Association for Down Syndrome that focuses on the VALUE of those with Down syndrome.
This and many other “abnormalities” labeled by society are an opportunity for all of us to stop placing negative labels on people. It is a time to step outside of “normal” and see that we “normal” people (although I don’t believe I am in the “normal” category - and that is an earnest statement), are the ones who make people who are not EXACTLY like us - “abnormal.”
Another example of this is children with (undiagnosed in that time period) autism who were also commonly institutionalized. In 1947, Mary Temple Grandin was born. She was diagnosed with brain damage at the age of two, which later was dropped due to lack of evidence from brain scan images. I digress. My point is her mother refused to institutionalize her and Temple Grandin (later diagnosed with ASD) went on to invent a humane cattle system that is used by the majority of cattle ranchers in the United States today. She obtained her bachelor's degree, masters degree, and PhD and continues to make life changing contributions to society especially within the arena of research and education of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
My point. We are all unique in our gifts. Just because a person doesn’t have the same thought process as we do, doesn’t mean their process is WRONG. It is just different. If our world was predominately filled with people with Down Syndrome then people without it would be labeled! Think about that for a a moment. We should all embrace everyone’s differences and feel blessed to have them In our lives to show us how wonderful differences can be! Thank you for sharing your beautiful child with us!!! (Sorry for the long post I tend to get extremely passionate about children being treated fairly 😊)." (END COMMENT POST).
"I choose not to place "DIS," in my ability. -Robert M. Hensel
I could've gone on and on in that post about the amazing people with "disabilities" who have contributed to society on a grand scale. To mention only a few: Helen Keller, Annie Sullivan, Fannie Lou Hamer, Albert Einstein, Rosa May Billinghurst, Ray Charles, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Benjamin Lay, Frida Kahlo. The list goes on and on. Not all, but some of these outstanding people could possibly have been or would have been discarded if not for their confident persistent personalities or for the warriors in their lives who were their voice if they are unable to do so for themselves. We will never know whose contributions have been missed because their voice was never heard.
Thankfully this is not so much the case anymore. While there are still many people with disabilities that are underserved due to poverty and a poor healthcare system. I am grateful that there have been strides made. My wish for the future would be for our healthcare system provide better care and be less difficult to navigate. Sometimes I feel like a medical, law, or accounting degree is necessary to figure it out!
"You are never alone. You are eternally connected with everyone." -Amit Ray
I also envision a future where we realize we are all One. We are all in this together. Our differences should unite us rather than divide us. Our world would become a better place if we could learn to stop pointing fingers at our differences and embrace them instead. We can all learn so much from one another's cultures and experiences. If we were willing to share our cultural heritages and traditions with each other. Instead of keeping them to ourselves and being offended by curiositIes, wouldn't it be better if we learned from one another? We could live in peace and harmony. "What a Wonderful World This Could Be." (Sam Cooke).
I have been told that my ideals would only happen in a perfect world. But what really is a "perfect world?" Since we all have our own ideas and perspectives, one perfect world cannot exist. We can at least strive for perfection or attain perfection in our imperfection. Can't we? Or at least...
"Strive for excellence, not perfection, because we don't live in a perfect world. - Joyce Meyer