We need more people with Down Syndrome in this world
I never thought that would be a sentence that I would pen. I was, like most of the world, living under the false belief that individuals with disabilities are a burden to their parents and those who care for them. I was someone who would politely smile when I saw a child with special needs and then find myself thanking God that I had perfectly healthy children. The last 2 years have taught me something I now feel to be the absolute truth. We need more people with Down Syndrome in this world.
When I first laid eyes on my new infant, our last of 6, I saw something uniquely different. It wasn’t a celebration but a moment of sheer shock, denial, and fear. It was a series of dark moments and I couldn’t have imagined back then that I would wish that there were more people, like my newborn, who had Down Syndrome, but now I do.
I firmly believe we need more people with Down Syndrome in this world because…
They cause us to slow down and live in the moment.
I have seen this time and time again with my son who delights in some of the most simple pleasures in this life from a small feather he finds on the ground to the tickle of my hair against his cheek. Our world moves so quickly that we don’t often slow down but rather we live in anticipation of the next second, minute, and hour to come, those with Down Syndrome know a secret that we could all benefit from, slowing down is a good thing.
They teach us to see the beauty in others
Whether we admit it or not, we are affected by attractive people. I have noticed that those with Down Syndrome seem to almost see individuals as God does, all as worthy, valuable, and perfect. My son doesn’t care the color, age, sex or any other classifying factor…if he feels you need a hug, he will embrace you. I have also had my idea of what is beautiful challenged, I now see so much beauty in the almond-shaped eyes, the sometimes broader foreheads and smaller stature that is common to those with Down Syndrome.
They make us smile
From the pride of watching them succeed to the silly giggles that my son offers me with nearly no effort, individuals with Down Syndrome make us smile. It is very difficult to be in a gloomy mood when there is so much optimism coming from an individual you are close to.
They have value and worth
Our world, as a whole, does not value the lives of those with disabilities. We are consistently searching for better screening tools to identify genetic abnormalities all under the guise that knowledge is better, but secretly those with Down Syndrome are being eradicated in many places. Individuals with Down Syndrome have value and worth beyond what anyone who has not been touched by their pure hearts and lives can comprehend. They are worth every doctor appointment and therapy exercise.
They show us that fear is a liar
I admit that fear gripped me when I first saw the characteristics of Down Syndrome in my sweet newborn’s face. However, if I had intimately known even one individual with Down Syndrome prior to his birth, I may have felt differently. We fear what we do not know, the unknown can be terrifying. If there were more individuals with Down Syndrome in this world, we would have less fear because the presence of an extra chromosome wouldn’t seem so foreign and scary.
I honestly feel now that people who have never had the pleasure of really knowing someone who has an extra chromosome are the ones who are missing out. I know I was prior to being blessed with my son. My world is brighter, happier, and more joyful than it was before and it is all due to just one extra chromosome.
The world could use a little more of that.