|Our friend, Ryan, loving Jillie in a way only he can.|
|My daughter, Emily and Ryan off to her school dance.|
Yes, my youngest has Down syndrome, and yes, I do have some uneasiness about her adolescence and that of those teenagers she will be exposed to. My hope is that our society will have matured a lot since the years I spent in middle / high school. My hope is these stories would inspire so many, at such a young age, and that bullying would be so rejected the children would resist such activity. My hope is, these stories would become the norm instead of the anomalies they currently are.
|Our sweet friend Jack with our sweet girl Jillie|
As inspirational as these videos can be, the stories are actually contained in the years prior to the event. The character development either inspired in, taught to, or experienced by these young people could be the content of a novel. A youth rarely just happens to do something edifying to others without first having some life experience to guide them in that direction. The source of such growth could consist of an amazing grandparent with an amazing life story, or a teacher who pays close attention not only to the academics their student is involved in, but also the world the student lives in. Character strength can be derived from experiences that we as adults don't even want to speak of, or the vesting of time into the service of others. A parent who sees periods of strife as opportunities rather than restraints lays the groundwork for hope in their childrens' lives as well as the ability to inspire others.
What happens next could be the lead-in to a cover story. What happens next is my child giving your child a moment to stand out from the crowd. Unknowingly, Jillie will constantly provide those around her with opportunity to enhance their own attributes. She will learn, succeed, fail, love, laugh and live her life right beside them. My hope is that her life will inspire others to look at their lives. I not only look at my daughter as someone who is bursting with potential, but as someone who has the chance to share her radiance to help those around her shine.