My personal Facebook feed has an imbalance that is glaringly apparent. It tends to be heavily in favor of my youngest son. Dominic has Down syndrome, and so my feed also has a fair sprinkling of articles and posts about Down syndrome-related issues. Prenatal testing, disability awareness, accomplishments of people who have DS….all of those types of posts make their way onto my Facebook as well. He has his own page, but somehow, I can’t help including posts about Down syndrome and my amazing son onto my personal page.
Sometimes people ask why I post so much about Dominic and not so much about my other kids. I am proud of my other children, but less likely to post so many updates about their accomplishments. My son Dominic has a disability. His facial features show it long before you see the unsteady gait or hear his imperfect speech. Having an extra copy of the 21st chromosome is only a piece of who Dominic is. It is my goal–in fact my mission–that the world will see Dominic for who he is and that, in his way, he will change perceptions of what it means to have a disability. There is too much hate in the world. Maybe Dominic can have a part in changing that.
The fact is that Dominic works harder than any of my other children to achieve every milestone. He does so joyfully, and with a radiating love that envelops us all. I want to share that, but I also want the world to see him for the person and beautiful soul that he is. If his voice is not heard, the world may come to see the disabled through the eyes of others who have evil motives.
I read this article today about the man who killed so many in Japan recently. I started to pop it up on my personal FB page, but I just felt a need for more of an explanation. The massacre of so many people in a care home for the disabled is precisely why I post so often about my son and his trials and accomplishments.
The article about Uematsu and his despicable actions was a hard read. The post quotes a letter he’d written a while back detailing his intention to kill many with disabilities and to rid Japan (and ultimately the world) of people with disabilities. Like I said, his letter is a hard read (the article is great. Read it please). It is also a message that the world has embraced before. We can never be too vigilant in protecting our children and our society from apathy that leads to embracing hatred.
Yes, I’ve read that the man in Japan who attacked and killed so many was possibly insane or maybe on drugs. OK, fine, but there have been many who have gone before him who have espoused the same dangerous ideology. As a society, we are a fickle bunch, eager to jump on the bandwagon and point fingers at who or what is dragging us down without consideration of what part each of us could play in making the world a better place.
I have my own ideas about what makes the world a better place: Get to know people around you. Meet someone with a disability and really listen to them. Offer respite care to those caregivers who may need it. Whenever you have the opportunity, listen with your heart.
Oh, and if you know someone with different abilities, celebrate every milestone, every achievement, every smile. Make the world a better place just like Dominic does every day.