Recently I watched a video on YouTube by two boys, ages 6 and 7, who wanted to make a video to speak up for their sisters. You see, the family’s house was spray painted with hateful and ignorant comments because two of their young children have Down syndrome. (You can watch the video here.)
Being the mother of a child with Down syndrome, I felt a huge range of emotions watching this.
First, I was angry. If I ever caught some jerk doing this, all 5’3” of me would come down on that person like a mother grizzly defending her cubs. I seriously had the urge to kick someone’s ass. (And I promise to start throwing punches should I ever see someone being this malicious!)
Second, I felt hurt. Hurt because nobody deserves to be the victim of a hate crime. Hurt because I can’t bear the thought of someone mocking my child. My sweet one-year old has the best smile. He lights up a room by just being his sweet self. It’s a hurt I can barely describe. It feels as though someone has grabbed your heart and stomach and started twisting them and won’t let go.
Third, I felt hope. After I had a moment to calm down, I realized that I had watched two young boys show more compassion than some adults. Their video has gone viral and it’s being shared all over social media.
I watched this video by the glow of the Christmas tree. And I knew what to put on my Christmas list. My wish is that every person who reads this blog post will share my list with at least one person.
My Christmas Wish List:
• I wish that people would stop using the word “retard” as in insult. Don’t call someone “retarded” because they are slow to catch on to a joke. My son isn’t the butt of your joke. He has feelings.
• Please don’t use the phrase “short bus” “window licker,” or the one I really can’t stand, “F$#%tard.” I’m sure my son will ride the short bus to school, but he’s no less of a person than your child who rides the full-length bus.
• Please don’t be afraid of someone with a disability. Don’t back away from them and act like they have some contagious disease. People with disabilities are people.
• Show compassion to others, and teach it to your children.
My hope is always that as my son grows older, acceptance will become the norm.