The Air Guitar Master
These last several months have been insanely hectic for us. We’ve been working hard marketing “321 Down Street”, preparing to sell our home and having a new one built and I haven’t been able to squeeze in an update on John-Michael. I want to take a second to sincerely apologize for that.
Since John-Michael was taken off his seizure medication (because he no longer needs it thank God), we’ve noticed his personality developing rapidly and I mean everyday something new and amazing kind of rapid. Watching this new found accelerated development we’ve noticed that he has a propensity toward music and in particularly the guitar.
This is his audition photo for The Village People but they said they already had the construction worker covered. J
He truly is an air guitar master being only 3 years old and having Down syndrome! But that aside, he also gravitates toward sports. In particularly baseball and basketball. When he swings a bat through the air he demonstrates a near perfect swing and proper follow through which has been fascinating to watch because I don’t know where he learned it from. All I know is that it wasn’t from me! And with basketball he can stand for nearly an hour and just shoot the ball and I would estimate from a comparable free throw distance, he makes 65% or more of his shots. All I can say is the NBA better get ready for their first player with Down syndrome because he’s growing up right now! I know it sounds crazy but I believe he could actually achieve that goal if HE believes he can.
You know, I’ve had the honor of speaking with so many parents who share the gifts and talents of their sons and daughters who have learning challenges, mostly Down syndrome but some others as well, and they tell me about the one or two things that their child does that no one expected them to do.
And then there are those who challenge my optimism about my son and his potential with their stories of hardship. And I don’t intentionally disparage anyone but with their stories I wonder if it could be possible that they are projecting their expectations (or lack of them) and maybe even their disappointment with not having the child they’d dreamed of having?
Here’s all I know as the father of five children, one of which was born with an extra 21st chromosome. Kids will try to live up to whatever we expect of them and nothing less. If we have no expectation of them being successful at anything; then how can they know to expect anything from themselves. It seems to me that being optimistic of their abilities can’t hurt them but it does have the potential to drive them to being the best person they can be and achieving things society never imagines they could achieve. I simply believe that destiny isn’t defined by our limitations but in fact by the struggles we’re able to overcome.
I have no illusions that my son won’t have different and possibly more difficult challenges than other kids but I refuse to allow those challenges to limit him by labeling him incapable without allowing him the chance to fail at them.
Failure isn’t the end of success, it’s merely the beginning of it! And to think otherwise, in my view, is to believe that destiny and purpose can be achieved without struggle. It’s in the struggle that we learn what we’re capable of; not in the success of that struggle. Success is just the reward at the end of a struggle.
To me, allowing John-Michael to struggle and even fail is more important for him than for my other children (not that it’s not important for them as well) because, the world has already branded him as less capable than other children when they diagnosed him with Down syndrome.
Yes, he may have to try harder and work longer to achieve the same thing other children do, but the real question is does that make him weaker or stronger?
I believe it will make him stronger!