Advantages to having a brother with Down Syndrome

I was going to title this post “How to help Sam jump off a 43 story building” but that might make some people nervous.  I’ll tell you all about it in a minute, though.

Sam and George.  True love.  I honestly think that if every sixth grade boy got a new baby brother wtih Down Syndrome to practice Kangaroo Care with, the world would be a better place.

And for sure, if every fifteen year old boy had a little brother who totally adores him, loves nothing more than to make him laugh, and loves to fall asleep curled up on his chest, adolescence would be much more of a positive experience for many young people.

Did you know that one of the most common resons people give for aborting thier children with Down Syndrome is that they worry that the baby would somehow take away from or cause problems with the other children in the family.  Can you imagine?

Maybe I’m rare in never worrying about that.  We’ve just all loved George.  Lots.  But Sam has always had a special heart for handicapped children.  When Danny was very small and went to the Easter Seals United Cerebral Palsy preschool, Sam, who was only 8 or 9 at the time, would come in with me in the afternoons and do a wonderful job playing with the little ones.  I know plenty of adults who might feel uncomfortable around a non verbal quadraplegic child with a trach… not Sam.  I have this image engraved in my heart of Sam lying on the floor squashed under this kid’s special chair pushing his legs out at just the right time so that he could really truly kick a ball. 

But it gets even better.  Sam has discovered that there are some very specific advantages to having a brother with Down Syndrome.  Besides always having someone to read to.  Again.  And.  Again.  🙂

Sam is only a couple of months from becoming an Eagle Scout, and has chosen to do his project at the preschool George attends.  There aren’t a whole lot of excellent preschools that will accept, love, and totally integrate a child with DS into their community.  Therefore they were an obvious choice for Sam’s Eagle project.  The church preschool that George attends sees taking care of all God’s children as part of their mission.  Therefore, organization and support and fundraising through the pro-life community has been wonderful.  It’s awesome that George has lead Sam to the perfect Eagle Scout project. 

But there’s yet ANOTHER advantage to having a brother with Down Syndrome.  The Special Olympics of North Carolina is doing a fundraiser that Sam was invited to participate in just because George is his brother.  If Sam raises $1000 dollars, he gets to rappel off this 43 story building in downtown Charlotte.  Yes, that big sharp scary looking building. Please excuse the pun, but he jumped at the chance 🙂  What 15 year old guy wouldn’t?
Go read about his jump, and his explanation about why he's doing it. I agree with Sam; there are definitely 
advantages to having a brother with Down Syndrome. 


15 thoughts on “Advantages to having a brother with Down Syndrome

  1. When I volunteered in “Project ACCEPT”, I loved every minute of it. And years later that volunteering helped me land a job doing respite care for WAARC. I loved that job, too, and especially loved the DS clients. DS people are, in my experience, hands-down unquestionably ** THE MOST UNCONDITIONALLY LOVING ** people on the planet. They are TRULY a gift to the world, as you note. You know how people say “I wish I felt as good about myself as my dog thinks of me”? Well, I wish I could love myself as much as the DS clients I had loved me. DS people amaze me. Truly they do. I wish everyone could know the joy that you know. The world WOULD be a better place if LOVE could trump fear.

  2. Now for my 2nd comment. (The other got so long I dared not keep typing via phone.)

    I have rapelled precisely once. I was at Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, MA. A friend who did sound rigging for concerts at the Worcester Centrum took me. Oh my gosh, “thrilling”, “exhiliarating” (spelling?), “fun”, “adrenalin rush”, and “scary” are words too wimpy to even begin to touch the experience! I only rappeled about 40 feet! I cannot even *FATHOM* rapelling for 43 stories! I am torn: donate to help ensure he gets the chance, or NOT donate in order to try to keep his feet on the ground! Oh wait, did I not just say something about LOVE TRUMPING FEAR? I guess that means I *must* donate or be a hypocrite.

  3. PS – just curious… how many stories high are the pool & tennis court? My kids just competed in a roof-top pool a few weeks ago. It was not NEARLY as high as that one looks.

  4. Elizabeth, I have never met (or doubt that I ever will!) a more inspiring family… I feel so blessed to know you…so many lessons have been learned!

    As for children with DS, just a few minutes spent in their company brightens anybody’s day! Thanks to Sam, I am sure this is opening a lot of our eyes! Lucky George, lucky Sam…lucky Special Olympics!

    Oh, and Sam…I can’t even look at the picture, let alone imagine repelling off 43 stories…HAVE FUN!

  5. Sam and George are the most wonderful team. You are all blessed with this beautiful DS little guy who will take you on wonderful adventures. Sam’s adventure sounds pretty nifty. I hope we see many pictures.

  6. Sniff, sniff… a beautiful post. Our children range in age from 3 years to 24 years, and it always overwhelms me with emotion when one of the older children tenderly cares for one of the younger. You should be very proud of Sam… and George is just adorable! God bless +JMJ+

  7. Wonderful post — the love between these two shines in every photo, and I wish your son all the best with the rappel!

    I also wanted to let you know that I finished TWO Baby Surprise Jackets for the Knit-Along today! Your tutorials, advice, and encouragement were so helpful — I wouldn’t have even tackled this project without you, so thank you so much! You can see the finished sweaters here:

  8. Pingback: T shirts for Sam’s jump « Keep on Spinning

  9. Pingback: Intentionally? Intentionality? « Keep on Spinning

  10. Pingback: Jumping for George « Keep on Spinning

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