I’m not sure if you noticed or not, but I changed my owl header to the colors for Down Syndrome Awareness, some time back. I did this because I saw some high profile people using the “R-word” on Twitter. I want to bring some awareness to this issue. I want to do it in a positive way. Please make sure to read all the way through the post and then take the pledge at the end. Take the pledge and then share share share.
Most mornings start like this for me: I have my coffee. I go downstairs to the lanai to start working for a couple of hours before the kids wake up and I have to start my day with them. I open all the different tabs on my screen to check out the news for the day, the latest on Facebook, and the most recent additions to my virtual inbox.
I look to twitter and other social media sites for many things. I have found comfort in identifying with bloggers who were gifted with special children as far as the United States and Europe. These same bloggers are where I go to if I need a “pick me up” or a reality check in my parenting with Gelli. I look to the SoMoms’ blogs and see if anyone is sharing something new in, and around Manila for ideas of new things to do with the kids or new joints to explore with Nino.
But in this realm…the realm of social media, the blogosphere, and the internet, I have to admit that I’m guarded, censored, and I often hold back. I do this because I feel I have a responsibility. I do this because I know when you put something out in the twitterverse or the blogosphere-you cannot take it back. I do this because I want to be sure that my personality on social media reflects the best parts of myself…just like in my parenting.
Many people who know me, say that I’m one of those people who cannot hide how they are feeling. I’m a person who wears my heart on my sleeve and one who will easily call a spade a spade. I have been known to put my foot in my mouth a few times, and for this I have paid the price…not just the embarrassment of saying something inappropriate, but even with lost friendships…FOR when something is recounted by others as a story (or a kuwento) the tone, inflection of your voice, and the sincerity of facial expressions are often sacrificed when a story is being told second or even third hand.
I have also experienced the same kind of misunderstandings in communicating through email. My sister (y’all know how near and dear my sisters are to my heart) and I had a misunderstanding because we spoke harsh words thru keyboards, instead of discussing things face to face. And for those words said in anger-we both suffered a distance in our relationship that lasted a little more than a year.
But when I started blogging and becoming active in social media I made a choice. It’s one I stand by today because I believe in it. I think it’s a big part of who I am and who I am growing up to be. The choice I made was this: I chose to be responsible for my words and actions (or shares) I made a promise to myself not to share in ANGER or heated emotion, and NOT to BASH. I’m human after all, and I can react with a quickness…emotionally…from a place deeply rooted in what I believe is either right or wrong, but I also know that not much good comes out of REACTIONS like these.
Part of this promise to myself, comes from the influence of my sister. She has shared how sometimes it is necessary to remove emotion and my sense of idealism from the equation to find a solution to a problem…and to approach the situation pragmatically can always yield a better result and resolution.
But because I choose to take the high road, because I choose to be careful with my words…maybe even SENSITIVE, in this frame of reference…I feel, I HOPE, and I pray that others would choose to do the same. After all, If I hold myself to a certain standard of sensitivity and compassion, then I know it’s possible for others to hold themselves to this same standard.
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change,
the COURAGE to change the things I can,
and the WISDOM to know the difference.
While I admit, I do not have control over any one else’s actions except my own, I do hope that I could influence, suggest, and maybe even inspire others to develop the same sensitivity, NOT JUST FOR GELLIBEAN, but also for all the other children out there with intellectual disabilities.
So what do I do when I see someone on social media use the “R-word” carelessly and insensitively? Instead of lashing out and name calling, or questioning that person’s character, intelligence or awareness, I simply share a part of myself.
GELLI IS PART OF ME. SHE WILL FOREVER BE PART OF ME.
I’d like to take this opportunity to share this campaign. It’s a campaign that is obviously near and dear to my heart just like my daughter, Evangelina, who was born with Down Syndrome.
I know that some may argue that the “R word” is a medical term. (People who are current in the medical field, however, KNOW that this is an outdated term.) Some may even accuse me of being too sensitive, “onion skin,” or even overly worried about being politically correct. If that is your opinion and your perspective, I can respect it. But I suppose the one thing I am asking is this…
If YOU had a daughter with Down Syndrome, would you still think it’s ok to use the “R word?”
I’m calling on those of you who have a sphere of influence. I’m asking for your help. I know we all have so many things to do in a day…we all have many responsibilities at work, at home, and for our families.
I am asking you to take a minute.
Take the pledge.
Post on IG.
Post on Facebook.
Use Social Media to be Socially Responsible. Use it for Social Good.
“Spread the word to End the R word.”
Do it because you love someone who has an intellectual disability, or because you KNOW someone who loves someone who has Down Syndrome.
Do it because you want to do your part to make Gelli’s world a better place.
Do it because you know it’s the right thing to do.
If you would like to learn more about what the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines Inc. does to help parents who have been gifted with designer genes, please visit their website or Facebook Page.
If you would like to learn more about Best Buddies, you can visit their Facebook page.