I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
In Sunday’s paper, there was the story of a young man living on his own and enjoying life. Once again this week, I will have the privilege of spending time with Andrew while serving together on the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/a-simple-unabashed-love-of-life-lb39n4v-134942348.html.
I always tell people, that the amount of knowledge that I take away from these meetings, particularly from the consumers, is more knowledge than I would ever learn in a book. Every time we get together as a Board, I learn something new that I am able to pass along to others, especially my son. By working and listening to these individuals, I know that my son will have the ability to live his life as he sees fit.
In my profession in the Long Term Care field, I learn from participants every day. There is always something new going on that I am able to obtain information on and pass it along to others that may benefit from this knowledge. There is no way that one person can know all of the resources. We share them with each other.
Genesis 1:27 states that God created Man in his Own image. I believe that all people are created in His image, no exceptions. As I have said in the past, I am very skeptical of doctors trying to come up with tests to better inform people that their child may be born with Down syndrome. So what if a child is born with Down syndrome, it is not the end of the world. I can speak to that from experience. I have probably become a better man, father and probably most importantly a better advocate because of these experiences.
Many will not always agree with me when I make statements and take stands on issues that affect individuals with developmental disabilities. But, it is because I am a father who believes in the abilities of his son, that I take these positions. Unless you can walk in my shoes, you do not understand. Many just look at the dollar and cents of issues, but the decsions being made affect people, real people, my son and freinds that I have made along the way.
I have found, that when we are together at various opportunities to tell Tyler’s story, to whomever will listen, from the Joint Finance Committee to the Department of Health Services, I feel that Tyler does know what is going on. He is very well behaved as he waits his turn to have his story told. Some of these waits have been 5 hours. I feel that we have a special bond when we are together at these events. I just sit and talk to him and watch him as he processes what is going on.
Science is a wonderful thing. It has expanded the lives of many. Sometimes I wonder where it will draw the line. Will genetics be able to determine if an individual will some day develop Alzheimer’s? But what if that individual finds the cure for cancer prior to the onset? Can genetics guarantee with 100% accuracy the outcomes of people’s lives?