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May 4, 2012


George Will On His Son Jon

Read the entire piece over at The Washington Post:

This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full, garish flowering of the baby boomers’ vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature’s mishaps, and to a perfect baby. So today science enables what the ethos ratifies, the choice of killing children with Down syndrome before birth. That is what happens to 90 percent of those whose parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis through prenatal testing.

Which is unfortunate, and not just for them. Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go. It is said we are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and remain greedy. People with Down syndrome must remain brave in order to navigate society’s complexities. They have no choice but to be trusting because, with limited understanding, and limited abilities to communicate misunderstanding, they, like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” always depend on the kindness of strangers. Judging by Jon’s experience, they almost always receive it.

Two things that have enhanced Jon’s life are the Washington subway system, which opened in 1976, and the Washington Nationals baseball team, which arrived in 2005. He navigates the subway expertly, riding it to the Nationals ballpark, where he enters the clubhouse a few hours before game time and does a chore or two. The players, who have climbed to the pinnacle of a steep athletic pyramid, know that although hard work got them there, they have extraordinary aptitudes because they are winners of life’s lottery. Major leaguers, all of whom understand what it is to be gifted, have been uniformly and extraordinarily welcoming to Jon, who is not.

Except he is, in a way. He has the gift of serenity, in this sense:

The eldest of four siblings, he has seen two brothers and a sister surpass him in size, and acquire cars and college educations. He, however, with an underdeveloped entitlement mentality, has been equable about life’s sometimes careless allocation of equity. Perhaps this is partly because, given the nature of Down syndrome, neither he nor his parents have any tormenting sense of what might have been. Down syndrome did not alter the trajectory of his life; Jon was Jon from conception on.


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4 comments

Beautiful.

[1] Posted by AnnieCOA on 5-4-2012 at 12:38 PM · [top]

From Mr. Will’s full article “The Phillies will be in town, and Jon will be wishing them ruination, just another man, beer in hand, among equals in the republic of baseball.”  What a wonderful statement of inclusion.  Having worked in the field of developmental disabilities for 30 years starting in the early 1970’s about the time that Jon was born, this is what all in this field of work and families should try to enable.  What a wonderful testament to a loving family who only wanted the best for their first child.

You see we all have some developmental disabilities (I will not be a rocket scientist).  Our call is to be the best we can be with what God has given.  Jon Will is a more actualized man that some that I know that are considered “normal”.

[2] Posted by Carpe DCN on 5-4-2012 at 01:19 PM · [top]

“Jon was Jon from conception on”

My cousin was like Jon. He passed on several years ago of a heart defect. I have often wondered about our reunion in Heaven and find that I can’t imagine meeting anyone else but the person I knew in life. A question comes up often when I think about it. What exactly was wrong with him? Who will I meet on that day? Mikey as his family and friends knew and loved him? Or some perfect Mikey no-one ever knew?

Somehow it is just hard for me to believe that there could be some more perfect version of Mikey than the one we cherish.

But since I can’t know the answer to my question in this life, it is the question I most anticipate learning on the day of my arrival.

[3] Posted by StayinAnglican on 5-5-2012 at 11:38 AM · [top]

I think that “perfect” Mikey will be more of who he already was.

As Oriel said of Psyche when she finally met her again: “Woman?  I had never seen a real woman before.”

[4] Posted by Sarah on 5-5-2012 at 03:39 PM · [top]

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