A Little Less than Perfect
“Religious milestones are important to many of us.”
When children are involved we always have to consider that the unexpected may happen. When a child has autism or Down’s syndrome, a perfect event takes on new meaning. I recently read a NY Times post by Joel Yanofsky titled a Bar Mitzvah with Autism. This reminded me of a BBC article about a young boy with Down Syndrome. Both articles started me thinking about my role as a parent and the definition of perfect.
As a parent, we want to protect our children and prevent anything bad from happening. We want all of our child’s events to be perfect. It’s as if hosting the perfect event builds a protective layer around the child and ensures that nothing bad happens. If we’re honest, this need is usually due to an insecurity stemming from something WE experienced as a child. Could my love of fashion and classic styled clothes stem from an experience in the 8th grade when some popular girls made fun of my outfit? [Granted, the outfit was a hand-me-down from my cousin and was pretty bad but I didn’t need to be reminded of the fact by nicely dressed popular girls, during an awkward stage in my life.]
Regarding the first communion situation, the parents wanted their child to participate in the sacrament of communion. However, the church stated that the child couldn’t participate due to his “limited concentration.” In its infinite wisdom, the church felt he was not prepared for the experience. Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. The child participated in a weekly preparatory class, the church reversed its position and the child made his first communion in May 2012.
Both of these instances remind us that it’s not about being perfect parents, having perfect children or hosting the perfect ceremony. Mr. Yanofsky describes his son, Jonah, as a sweet, lovable child who, quite regularly, says or does something that will invariably seem kind of weird. He goes on to mention that his son has helped him grow up and not worry about what others think. Wise words indeed.