Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A good person

Ableism.... We value abilities. In ourselves, in our children, in our civilization.  We take pride in accomplishment, in reaching new heights.

As I have discussed last week, this is true even for people with disabilities. Parents of developmentally delayed children gush about how much more intensely milestones are celebrated in proportion to the struggle to achieve them. We hail the trailblazers who accomplish great things in spite of disabilities and hardships.

But at some point in raising our children, usually when they are one-upping each other, we take them aside and tell them that it is more important to be good than smart/strong/first/etc.  It is more important to show each other grace, compassion and kindness than to "win" this or that contest.

Do we really mean that?

How often are people truly able to value the good person over the successful person?  As a spouse?  As a friend?

How often do we, by our very attitude, undermine that sentiment to our own children, when we emphasize measurable accomplishments while taking good behavior for granted or handing out only muted praise?  How often do we ourselves model grace and compassion to our children?

Do we really mean that?

Next week is Rosh Hashanah.  The ten Days of Awe will culminate in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is traditionally a time of soul searching, seeking to repair our relationships both with G*d and with our fellow man. Let us examine what we truly value, both in others and in ourselves.

Let us recalibrate our yardstick by which we measure personal worth.

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