I was flipping through the channels the other day and came across Pat Robertson on The 700 Club. He was talking about the new prenatel test that can determine if your baby has Down Syndrome. He was against the test, talking about how kids with Ds have had a positive impact on their families.
Then he said, "They are such loving children."
And I rolled my eyes.
Really? 'Loving' children? He's never spent much time with Beth. She's no more loving than you or I. I've grown to dislike that cliche. I heard it a lot when Beth was born, "Aren't they such loving children?" At the time I had no clue so I'd answer, "Yes!"
But now, I wonder if that saying got started way back when children with Down Syndrome were put into institutions. (Our doctor actually suggested that to us. Even as recently as the 80's they were including 'institution' as an option.) I don't know what these institutions were like but maybe the kids were starved for affection? The nurse or care giver would come into the room and the kids would put their arms out for a hug. Maybe? I don't know, just speculating here. But maybe that's how the saying became so popular, "They're such loving children."
In my opinion, and I know this is my opinion only, people who use that phrase really don't know anything about people who have Down Syndrome. They're just repeating something they've heard somewhere. When I hear that phrase it makes me think that others think she's a robot. Only one emotion, no brains, just a walking mass who likes to hug. Beth is no more loving than the next guy. She gets angry, she gets sad, she gets frustrated. She likes her alone time and isn't afraid to tell you.
But you know what I have noticed about Beth?
She looks at the heart.
She couldn't care less if your shoes are Nike or knock-offs. She doesn't know if your purse is Gucci or Goodwill. She does care how you treat her and others. It bothers her when someone isn't nice. She notices when you're being disrespectful, if you talk when the director is talking. She gets hurt when you ignore her or say something unkind. She notices the inside of a person, their character, not their clothes or hair.
She's more like Christ than I am. She notices the heart.