Blogs are great things.
It’s an avenue to share thoughts, teach, test ideas, and find kindred spirits. Many things on this blog have been personal. Just as many have been professional. It’s a mixed bag, really.
In the last 18 months I’ve gone to work full time. It’s a great job, really. At least the goal is a great thing. I”m overwhelmed a lot of the time, I can see the end product, and I’m clear about where I’m starting. It’s that in-between part that is daunting. I have high standards for myself.
I’ve learned a few things about my journey – and the journey of many families and advocates – over the last year. One of the things I have come to realize is that families and advocates life their values 24/7.
Think about it. What’s one of the first things you learned as a parent of a child who experiences Down syndrome or another developmental disability? “Model the expected behavior.” At times this is a tremendous thorn in our sides, but if we truly embrace this great things happen.
Our kids learn our values. Our friends see our behavior. And you know what? My son who doesn’t experience disability walks the walk beautifully. Not because he has a chip on his shoulder or because he has a brother with Down syndrome. He does it because it’s what he values. He wants a world that is tolerant, inclusive, and focused on what can be done to be better rather than all the injustices we know exist. He chose a life-partner, his wife, who mirrors those values.
But I’ve lived in a bubble. I like my bubble. One where we don’t name call or judge, but rather one where we look for everyone’s gifts and do our best. That’s not to say I don’t engage in some pretty cynical humor. I just try not to do it at someone else’s expense. I provide myself with plenty of things to laugh about.
Back to my point. “Re-entry” to the work force has not gone so smoothly when it comes to being surrounded by positive energy. My new challenge? Model the expected behavior – and deflect the behavior that damages.
Wish me luck.