Down Syndrome Insights

My Christian conversion at 17 years-old was cheap — something I share with many folks.  My best friend and girlfriend were Christian — it only made sense that I join the party.  OK, that is an oversimplification – if you want, you can read about how the death of my best friend was the actual catalyst to my conversion.

But that is not the point of this post.  Today I coincidentally ran into two different sites with short films where the actors are adults with Down Syndrome.  Heck, maybe God was speaking to me and it wasn’t a coincidence!  Joking.  But these videos brought back memories of how my encounters with individuals with Down Syndrome served as seeds which later blossomed in my forest of doubt concerning Christianity.

My High School Christian girlfriend volunteered at an institution for clients with Down Syndrome.  I remember greatly admiring her kindness and volunteer spirit.  But I also remember our unsatisfactory conversations about what happens to those who can’t understand or don’t care about the whole Jesus salvation story.  I won’t discuss that now because my readers understand all those issues.  Instead I want to share these videos because they not only brought back these memories, but because they also inspired me to again think about the importance of understanding the hearts of those so different from ourselves.

  1. An Icelandic 9 minute film of slow dancing and unique music. (HT – A Finnish Zen Buddhist Monk’s site)
  2. “21 Frames per second”: A 12-minute British film.  This site is fantastic for other artistic short films.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

7 responses to “Down Syndrome Insights

  1. Thank you for this. My son has Downs and to me he is perfect in every way. He is a very loving boy, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. He is now 9, and for him it is difficult to understand these lofty concepts, but no matter, he is as happy and peacful as clam.

  2. Susan

    Hey Sabio, Things are much different then when you were in high school. When you write it should be ‘people with Down syndrome’. It’s called using people first language. Down syndrome is not who they are it is something they are born with. Each person is a unique individual. As for institutions they are mostly a thing of the past. Things have changed since way back then! I should know I have 3 children with Down syndrome ages 22, 18, and 13. Yes, we all go to church and sometimes I feel that they understand God and Christianity better then I do. Oh by the way, I am from way back then too.

  3. @ Kyle :
    Thanx for sharing, dude.

    @ Susan :

    I am sure things have changed.

    I have changed the word order in 2 places on the post to stay politically correct. (I was correct in one of them) This way of talking about people still persists in the medical world — it is faster but you are right it has the downside of confusing an illness for the whole person. “The MS patient”; “The Prostate Cancer patient”; “The Kleinfelder patient” and on and on.

    I understand the insitutional issue also — I was simply telling a story.

    I am glad for you that you feel your children understand the religion you have tried to teach them.

    Curious: How did you find this site?

  4. I don’t have Down’s, but I’m different. So different that my ignorant mother thinks I have some sort of brain damage.

    Of course, for most of my life I as was unaware of my “disability.” But now that I know how I come across, I have developed much sympathy for the DIFFERENT of the world.

    It’s about time that we, humans, started going beyond appearances and first impressions. Things are changing, yes. But they need to change more.

  5. @ Lorena
    If there is one thing I have learned at a deep level in my life, it is how different we are from each other and how it is important to realize the different solutions that address those different constitutions.
    Thanx for your honest comments — as always !
    BTW, two elementary school teachers tried to convince my mother (a teacher) that I had very limiting intellectual skills and should be held back in school. She fought it and proved them wrong. Well, they we right about deficits in some areas but …

  6. Thank you for sharing these links. I especially enjoyed ’12 Frames Per Second’.

  7. soe

    I think it is accepting that we are different from others, humans or animals, that we share our existences and not fearing their strangeness from us that would allow us to better understand them and our existence and allow us to live in peace in this world.

    There was this TV episode of “Criminal minds” I had watched last night where the serial killer character mentioned he did not understand why what he felt was normal (violence) was not to others. That made me think about the how much we don’t know how other’s perception of the same world we live in varies from our own. There are just so many minute differences in factors playing out in each individual moment of experience. It can even be mind-boggling!

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