I often talk about adversity and health. About how thankful we should be for the gifts we have been given, our souls’ journey and living up to our potential. Today is a day that encompasses so many of those messages.
Today is World Down Syndrome Day. I have a two first cousin’s with Down syndrome. One on each side of the family, and one of our office family, Josie, has a daughter with Down Syndrome as well. All I can say is you are blessed when you have a person with Down syndrome in your life.
My oldest cousin, Kirk, on my dad’s side was much older than me but I remember him as a very protected child and very limited in his abilities. He was raised in a generation that seemed to isolate the people with Down syndrome so to protect them. In a way, I think they looked at the deficiencies and lovingly tried to protect them.
I made a film reel for my family of all the tapes from our past and on there was a video of Kirky biking and playing with all the children in the family (this was before my time) and I was astounded. I knew him as very low functioning but oddly enough, when my aunt and uncle passed and he was placed in a group home he started to live up to his potential. Kirky started working, dating, and lost a ton of weight. Don’t get me wrong, he was very loved and taken care of by his parents. It is just as we learn and evolve we learn about the power of potential.
My other cousin Michael has an uncanning knack for naming people after musicians. If you ever met my sister, Dr. Gabrielle the “Doctor to the Rock Stars”, he calls her Cher. Spot on Michael! Heck, even Cher herself said she looked like her! He called me Michael Bolton… What the heck?! He redeemed himself later by calling me Bruno Mars which I liked better but he probably was closer on his first guess! He is absolutely the life of the party!
Society today is better at realizing the untouched potential in people with Down syndrome than they 30 years ago. They realize that they can be protected yet still excel in our world and their potential is quite remarkable. Frankly, as a general statement, I think they teach us some very important lessons.
First, I feel they are extremely gentle, well evolved, souls. Boy we could all take a lesson from that. Second, they tend to live in the moment which is another wonderful trait. And third, their potential is incredible when society doesn’t set limits. Which is no different than ours.
So on this World Down Syndrome Day let’s all reach for the sky and push our potential in mind, body, or spirit in honor of the wonderful people with Down syndrome!