Monday, March 19, 2007


It's my last day in Norfolk and I'm meeting with Hope House staff in the morning and parents of the participants in the afternoon. With both groups we are going to look at new policies regarding sexuality and talk about how these policies fit into an overall plan to keep people with disabilities safe. After the morning session with staff, I have a cup of tea and gear up for meeting with the parents.

As we began we talked, of course, about the policies. But the discussion turned into a conversation and like all good conversations covered a lot of ground. At one point a number of different parents talked about their adult children and about their concerns for their safety in the community.

"He's so trusting," said one.

"Friendly," said another.

"Caring," one more.

They all saw the highly positive character traits their children had. Yet they understood how these self same attributes could be misperceived and lead to trouble. As they gave examples there was a sense of both pride and fear. Pride that their children were so loving and giving and fear that we live in a world where 'loving' and 'giving' where 'trust' and 'faith' had become character flaws rather than character boosters.

Then it was said.

"Wouldn't it be great if the world was as good a place as people with disabilities thought that it was?"

There was a moments silence. We all pondered that thought.

Thoughts flickered across each parents face. Images of the hard lessons that their children had to learn. Ideas about how to curb loving enthusiasm and indescriminate caring. Determination that their children would learn and survive - even thrive - in a world that is far less than perfect.

A moments silence.

To contemplate heaven.

A moments silence.

In mourning for a world lost.

1 comment:

Shelley said...

What a great post. So articulate and unfortunately so true. Thanks.