Friday, October 16, 2009

Thoughts on Finnian by Kevin, age 12


My brother's name is Finnian. He has Down syndrome. I am glad to have Finn as a brother. He is not much different from any other baby. He laughs, he cries, he eats, he sleeps, he plays with toys. He doesn't look much different from any other baby either. He has blue eyes and blonde hair. When I see him, I don't think people would say, "Ohh, that kid has Down syndrome!" I think they would say, "Ohh, that's a cute baby!" Maybe when he's older, someone might be able to point him out in a crowd, by the way he looks or acts. But that doesn't mean he's not as good as some other kid.

I think many people are extremely uneducated about disabilities. I can go ask any kid at my school what "retarded" means, and they would tell me it means "stupid." I'd be willing to bet money that that's what some of the teachers would say, too. Wow, my brother has an extra chromosome. That makes him dumb, doesn't it? No, it definitely does not. And someday he may grow up to be smarter than the people who call him "retarded."

People tell me all kinds of things when I tell them all about Finnian, and why they shouldn't use the word "retarded." I have been told everything from "Yeah, whatever" to "Well, your brother's not here right now, is he?" to "Do you have a disability?" to "Well, if I can't say retarded, can I say 'tard?" It's crazy! And frustrating, too. One kid even told me, "Well, retarded is the proper medical term that doctors use." True, but it's a totally different story when you say it as an insult. On the other hand, I have also had people tell me, "Oh, I get it now," or tell me about a disabled kid at their church or something like that.

Were you watching TV the night President Obama made that joke about the Special Olympics on the Jay Leno show? I wasn't, but I heard about it and it made me mad. I can't believe the President would say something like that, especially on TV.

Having Finn for a brother has totally changed my perspective about disabilities. I used to get creeped out when I saw a person with cerebral palsy. I used to not care at all if someone said "retarded." Now I don't get creeped out when I see someone with a disability. I know that having a disability isn't wrong or weird. It's just different. And I hope people won't think Finn is weird, or creepy. He's not. I love him, and I wouldn't trade him for the world.


11 comments:

Mel said...

Wow. What an amazing and eloquent young man you are Kevin. I am impressed. Finnian is lucky to have you as his brother, just as you are lucky to have him. What a neat family.

A Lady Called Amy said...

:-) sonds like you have a VERY smart and loving 12 year old.

Chrystal said...

You rock, Kevin!

Our family, including Miss Malea, thanks you.

Leigh Anne said...

how loving. brought tears to my eyes! i can't wait for sydney to have a sibling.

Monica Crumley said...

Wow, what a beautiful essay about your little brother! It looks like Finn has taught you a lot about life and love and compassion in his short time here so far. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I have a 12 year old son, too, and he adores John Michael, who is 23 months old now. Thanks!

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

Wow, that brought tears to my eyes as well. What a fine young man Kevin is and what an awesome big brother. Finn and all the kids are so fortunate to have him as a role model!

Anna Alexandrova said...

I want Kevin for a brother too!

ds.mama said...

Aww, Kevin, you're a wonderful brother and advocate.

Wendy P said...

What a wonderful brother! Kevin, I loved your thoughtful writing. You and Finn are lucky to have each other.

datri said...

Kevin is wise beyond his years. What an awesome big brother!

Carla said...

Kevin shows, once again, that he is an insightful, bright young man. :-)