Beyond Limitations

How do you think you would react if you watched a swimming race that was won by a one legged kid with no arms?

I saw that on the weekend and was really glad I brought my hanky!

I also saw kids in wheelchairs, kids with big challenges like Downe's Syndrome, Spinabifita, Cerebral Palsy and more kids with limbs missing, all competeing in the New Zealand North Island "Independance Games", styled on the Olympic Games.

These kids, usually overlooked in the mainstream education and social life, got out there and competed with a admirable guts and competiveness.

Both in the track and field events as well as the swimming events, I saw miracles every race!

It's amazing how the human spirit can take on the challenges of life.

My son, Ted, who has Downes Syndrome was competing and socialisng with his peers. He was part of a team (Waikato) that was competing against all the other regions in the North Island. We had a weekend where, instead of being the odd one out in the mainstream, he (and Rose and I) were part of a community where we were all "Normal".

At the swimming events, Ted made a dash for the public pool when he was between events - I think he was getting bored. As soon as he entered the pool, I noticed the same old, same old reactions from the other kids - disgust, fear, "get him away from me". The contrast couldn't have been greater from the mutual respect and acceptance he had been getting all weekend. We got him out of that environment vowing to get as much of the Game's atmosphere while we could!

It showed me the power of community. Of how important it is for all of us to feel like we belong, somewhere in this big organism called Humanity. We talked with others who face every day similar difficulties to us, shared what works and what doesn't and got to have conversations that are virutually impossible to have with people who are not going through the same stuff.

I am now in the process of listing all my communities, my networks, to see how I can best participate in ways that honours my uniqueness and reaches out to others with similarities.

Certainly in regards to my son, I am looking to build local relationships for mutual benefit.

It's been a humbling and empowering weekend!

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