One day last week, I got home late and needed to do as little as possible to unwind. I had been battling traffic from Bridgeport, CT to Media, PA which left me tired but restless. I decided to surf the TV stations and stumbled across the show, “Born This Way,” a show where young adults born with Down syndrome pursue their passions while defying society’s expectations. I had heard about this show, but never actually seen it and it looked pretty interesting so I decided to check it out. I am glad I did.
The young man in the show wanted to get a tattoo, but he was afraid of needles. His dad was strongly opposed; but his mom fiercely asserted that he was grown up, and it was his decision. His friends suggested that maybe he could support one of them who had wanted a tattoo, and he could see for himself what was involved.
He went, and he held his friends’ hand. He then made up his mind, but called his Dad first to ask if it was OK with him. The dad emphatically said “no,” twice, and he hung up. The son proceeded to get the tattoo anyway. He was clearly proud that he faced his fears, and that he made up his own mind.
I don’t have any tattoos, and I really don’t want one, but I felt good watching this man make his own decision. He was courageous and his friends were kind. I wasn’t sure how I felt about his Dad – I don’t hang up on people, so I wished he hadn’t done that, but I respected that he did not like the idea, and stood firm for his position.
The show weaves in stories of others, two young women looking to move in together, another young woman who has started dating, another couple getting married and picking sides of the bed. All of these stories had themes of courage and moments of kindness and encouragement.
I was especially struck by the parents in these stories. They were courageous in helping their children succeed; they were kind and supportive to each other. It made me proud to be in the business of helping families like them make these dreams come true.
What would the community be like if we increased our courage and kindness by 20%? 50%? How many dreams could we help come true?