Shape

Dad’s Lesson Learned

Shape

Dad’s Lesson Learned

Tyler and I were driving home from an Inclusion presentation. I don’t remember if it was a keynote presentation or a training. I don’t remember who it was for or where we were. I don’t remember if it was one Tyler did alone or one of the many we did together. I don’t even remember the context of our conversation. But I do remember it leading to Tyler’s verbal disappointment in parents who felt the need to “fix” their children with disabilities. And I will never forget what Tyler said next …

Tyler stated if there was a pill available that could cure cerebral palsy like a disease, he wouldn’t take it. He wouldn’t be interested. He was okay with who he was. I was so taken aback. As a dad, I have always wanted what was best for my children. We all do. There has never been a time, any time, in Tyler’s life when I wouldn’t have willingly, even gladly, changed places with him to give him a typical, healthy body.

I explained to Tyler that parents just want their kids to have everything, to not have obstacles to their happiness. He didn’t buy it. He was adamant. We are who we are. I didn’t understand and it took me awhile to finally “get it”. And when I did, I was embarrassed that I didn’t understand sooner.

Disability is just a natural part of Life, it doesn’t define us. People with disabilities aren’t broken. They don’t need to be fixed. It’s just a piece of who they are, like receding hair or green eyes. None of us are alike in our abilities or our disabilities. Tyler was very comfortable with who he was. Even if he could, he wouldn’t change anything about himself … … …

Neither would I. He was Tyler.