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Posts Tagged ‘courage’

Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life. (Shannon L. Alder)

The summer of 1963. I’m at a journalism workshop in Detroit to prepare for a position on my high school magazine. And I have a date. Other pre-seniors, a group of at least six, give advice about makeup.

“More eyebrow pencil. They look pale. Lost.”

A description of how I felt. Strange. I had a date. With a guy I’d just met. Not the love of my life, but someone who would introduce me to a fancy restaurant and frog legs. Yet my memory of the moment says I wasn’t enough.

Today I look in the mirror and see one red, irritated eye. The itching is a unique form of torture and I am grateful for antibiotic drops. Pink eye is temporary. Human frailties are not.

I have survived adolescence by now. However, what is this thing in me that says rest must be limited? Does laundry really need to be done, now? I need to type even when the letters could be more fog than print. I take a break, a short one. Maybe not-good-enough has morphed through the years. Soothed with action.

The new year begins. May I remain open to change, especially if it doesn’t seem easy. Time to focus on the real. And grow inside both joy and turmoil.

 

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Successful people keep their eye on the goal. If they encounter obstacles, instead of focusing on the obstacle, they find a way around it by keeping their goal in mind. It is a mindset of courage which makes it easier to pursue success. (Dr. Anil Kumar Sinha)

Meet Diane Grover, mother of five, a beautiful person inside and out. Diane founded the International Down Syndrome Coalition. She also started the Grand Strand Down Syndrome Society. Now she has created Dreamers Merchants.

This is no ordinary business.

Most employers look at appearances when hiring, even if that bias is subconscious. Somewhere between 17% and 20% of people with disabilities are employed. Diane’s mission is to change that statistic. She does more than hire—she gives these individuals a living wage and recognizes their dignity. In Diane’s blog, Cheerful Persistence, September 2015, she celebrates the definition of dignity.

I applaud people who realize that dignity is innate. It is not the exclusive property of the genius, the wealthy, the gifted, the privileged… In fact, sometimes the educated individual teaches biased info. My friend, Bethany Brianne Hall, helped to clarify some of that misinformation with one of her college professors.

“Genetics and Statistics show that all people with Down syndrome will not attend college. It is nearly impossible for them,” he stated in the context of his lecture.

Bethany did not sit still and fume. She responded with statistics. After class. Bethany was fortunate. Her prof heard her out.

“Do you know who Angela Bachiller is?” she asked. Knowing the question was rhetorical, Bethany continued. “She was the world’s first person with Down syndrome to hold public office. She lives in Spain. Tim Harris owns his own restaurant. And Sujeet Desai, a musician, went to college. He earned a 4.3 average. These are only a few examples.” Bethany suggested that he update his statistics. Perhaps if she had appeared confrontational in front of the other students he may have been defensive. It is hard to say in hindsight.

Then she shared her experience on Facebook. I smiled the width of my face. Perhaps wider. The links in the previous paragraph lead to these persons’ stories. Desai mesmerizes an audience with his music. Tim dances his way to his restaurant. Angela Bachiller’s photo shows a woman either patronized or ignored in public settings. Wrong! She is a public leader and servant.

I smile again now. Diane Grove is destroying the myth that the handicapped are poor workers and less-than individuals.

Di’s youngest daughter, Mary Ellen, has Down syndrome. She calls herself ME. Me! The same pronoun we all use to refer to our inner selves. And that self is incredibly beautiful—no matter how many chromosomes it carries.

Seven of Diane’s Dreamers Merchants stores opened on October 5. There are now eight stores. Freshly ground coffee can be ordered online. A great gift.

“Maybe, just maybe,” Diane says, “the world is hearing us.”

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