Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Special Needs Patriotism

I urge that prayers ... and thanksgiving be offered up for all men; for kings and all those in authority, so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. 

I Timothy 2:2- Berean Study Bible

When Bethany memorized the Pledge of Allegiance when she was 4 and The Star Spangled Banner when she was 5- my proverbial buttons were bursting off my mommy shirt!

I love America.  I pray for America. I try to serve God and country to the best of my abilities.

And I want to make sure Bethany understands the honor we have by living in the United States!

Having a disability (down syndrome) does not exclude her from learning, growing and participating in three areas of citizenship and  patriotism:

1- Loving America

No country is perfect. But God foreordained the country where we would be born. I believe He would have us love the land He put us in, and love the people within its boundaries.  

I want to make sure I teach Bethany to love this country- instead of bellyaching about it.  I want her to be grateful for the freedom it affords her, thankful for the benefits it gives her, and compassion ate to those less fortunate. 

I especially don't want Bethany to grow up with an entitled attitude. Any benefits we have from our government could disappear someday. I want her to trust that God is the One who meets our every need.

Yes- I'll teach her America's shortcomings and problems- past and present- but I'll make sure I'm not myopic about our failures. 

We have to love our country- to change our country.

2- Praying for America-

When Bethany was little, I taught her how to pray by using each finger on her hand for a specific thing.  

3rd finger- the highest finger- should remind us that God asks us to pray for our leaders. I want Bethany to learn to pray first, discuss, plan action, debate, and work for change-  but complain- never.

3- Serving God and Country

I don't care what "disability" or "limitations" someone has "attached" to their IEP. 

I don't care what color of skin, what IQ assignment, what sex you are, or what ideology is held- EVERY person should be a patriot; a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.

We serve God by loving Him and loving others.  
We serve our country in the same way. United we stand. Divided we fall. We work until we come into unity.

We do our part- however small that might be.  I do my best to respect and honor people, the land, our resources, our freedoms.  I volunteer to help others, I vote, I work for change in laws I don't agree with.  

And I teach my children to do the same.  Especially Bethany. She is a "special" patriot- one whose voice needs to be heard and contributions need to be recognized.

For despite that some people ignorantly believe, kids like ours are NOT a drain on society. 

The opposite is true. I've found people with special needs and unique abilities, make the fabric of our nation stronger, better, and more beautiful.

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