Written by Sophie (Zosia) Gryz
“We become what we celebrate” – Matthew Kelly.
Who do we become when we celebrate grit, determination, passion, discipline and joy? Easy. We become not only survivors in today’s society – which is often seen as a feat in its own right – but also people who thrive. We become people who have the perseverance to see a difficult situation through.
We become people of integrity by acknowledging our faults and choosing to accept our perceived weaknesses. We develop our character by finding ways around those weaknesses, using them as strengths to get ahead. We are determined to see challenges as opportunities, not roadblocks. We are passionate and accept criticism with grace and the knowledge that it will make us better instead of falling prey to self-pity.
We are disciplined. We understand that learning does not stop when the teacher ends his lecture; we seek to know more and aim to emulate the greats that came before us. We become people who see their goal through.
We are joyful because we know that change is constant. Even our brain is ever-changing, ever-evolving, so what was impossible yesterday becomes our reality today. We are capable of more than we know and more than some tell us – and have the potential to serve as examples or inspiration for others.
We would be doing ourselves a great service by celebrating people with these traits because we become what we celebrate. And being hard-working, joyful people who pursue passion and grit allows us to lead impactful lives worthy of imitation. Unfortunately, we miss the opportunity to learn from, read about or meet the many folks who display this grit and strength when we choose to leave them out of our own conversations.
We leave them out by not allowing them to exist in the first place.
The idea of leaving those with a disability out of our conversation is meant literally here – for if we choose not to allow those with a disability to be born in the first place, they cease to exist in our minds and thus our words. And considering the potential their lives have to be very meaningful and inspiring, this is quite a loss…
So — going back to Matthew Kelly’s “We become what we celebrate”, who do we become when we celebrate death over life? When we choose convenience over hardship under the guise of compassion, telling ourselves we are sparing difficult times for our child? Is that deceit? Because, perhaps, if we were honest with ourselves we would see that when we say we are trying to spare our sick child a life of hardship, what we are in fact doing is sparing ourselves hardship, perceived increased spending and grief over the loss of what was supposed to be easy. What are we celebrating if what we’ve achieved was achieved with ease? Luck? What if everything just falls perfectly into place – what, then, is prized – coincidence?
If we are striving to become the best version of ourselves or maybe even looking to change the world, it might be worth celebrating the people with DS who are changing the world. Read the stories of people like Madeline Stuart and Tim Harris in our previous blog post. Those are the stories of people who get it done. People who achieve that to which they set their mind. People worthy of celebrating.