My friend Stacia has a son with Williams Syndrome. Physically and mentally he is considered disabled, but she recently pondered the question: by whose standards? She wrote the following about it:
As the therapists spent their requisite hour with my son, asking me questions, and observing him, making their little checks in the boxes on the evaluation sheets, and tallying up the “points,” they finally announced that, yes, according to their calculations, he was still delayed in just about every area.She also quoted another parent who had a child with disabilities:
And I found myself wanting to say, “But . . . but . . . but isn’t there something you can say he's good at? Where, for instance, are the check marks for ‘can hum any tune after hearing it once’? Where are the boxes for ‘learned the Doxology after only hearing it at church and knows that it ends with aaaaaaa-men’? What about the points for ‘never met a stranger’?” But I didn’t. Instead, I signed the forms I was supposed to sign, and the therapists went on their way.
The things they want to measure, he can’t do. His scores on reading, reading comprehension, math, math concepts and the like were as low as you can score and still be breathing.As I read her blog, I couldn’t help thinking about my own daughter. My daughter has no disabilities; in fact, she excels in almost everything she does. When she brings home her papers and I see those As, I pat myself on the back and think about what a good job my husband and I are doing to help her excel in life. But I need to ask the same question Stacia did: by whose standards? Whether your child has “disabilities” or not, it’s so easy to get caught up in what the world values instead of what God values.
The things they can’t measure – like his inherent, God-created dignity as a human being – he excels at. I used to cry when those came in the mail every year. They still make me sad, not because of how severely disabled they “objectively” show him to be, but because this is the cultural measure of his worth.
A few weeks ago, my daughter told me she was going to play with a girl in school whom everyone else was ignoring, because it was the right thing to do. We discussed what the Bible says about caring for and being kind to others, so I was sure she understood the biblical basis for it being the right thing to do. My husband and I looked at each other and smiled—this is what we should be proud of as parents.
We should be proud that we are raising our daughter to know and believe God’s Word and to live it out in her life. We should be proud that we are teaching her to do everything for God’s glory and not man’s, so someday she will hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) I encourage all parents to ask yourself this question: Am I raising my child to seek the glory of God or to seek the glory of man?