Strength for the Climb

My blog is a personal journey of the blessings I have been entrusted with and the strength I have been given to make the climb. I invite you to follow along as I write about faith, family, and Down syndrome.

Words. Helpful or Hurtful.


My mama always told me that if I didn't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all.  I will admit that at times in my life, my tongue has been like a sword.  Sharp and hurtful.  

Words.  They carry so much power.  They can encourage and discourage.  They can bring comfort and they can tear apart.  They can spread truth and also lies.  Words, are helpful or hurtful.  

This month has been one of reflection.  One that has brought many tears...of the highs and lows of the past year.  Remembering how the words of Jack's diagnosis were given...to the amazing support we received when we introduced him to the world.  Your comments and encouragement sustained us.  

Being that one of my love languages is words of affirmation, I CAN NOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT MEANS TO US.  Do you know that there were nights that I stayed up late and reread all the comments that you shared with me...believing that we could do this...and do it well!? Sometimes those comments were what helped me get through the first few hours.  God used your comments to help me see that we were well equipped for doing the best we could for our family.  Some of the early emotions included doubt...and YOUR words and presence in our lives have made a huge, huge, huge difference.  Thank you.   

Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.  
Proverb 12:18

Thank you for not saying, "I'm sorry."  We are thankful that only two people did...and an overwhelming amount of you said, "Congratulations."  Saying that you are sorry translates to me that you are sorry that Jack is the way that he is.  That you are sad about how my son was fearfully and wonderfully made by God.  God does NOT make mistakes.  Guess what?  I wouldn't change anything about Jack and there is nothing to be sorry about.  

Helpful or Hurtful

Lastly, I want to share something with you that hurt very deeply.  

A few weeks after Jack was born, I became aware that two middle schoolers that I know were making fun of a classmate and her brother, who has Down syndrome.  These two were not just saying hurtful words, but they were also adding damaging body gestures.  This sibling was in tears.  My heart was breaking hearing the details.  These two students were trying to win the attention of their classmates by their immaturity and complete lack of thought for anyone besides themselves.  They learned this behavior somewhere.  They learned that it's okay to call someone a retard and think that it doesn't matter.  That word has always infuriated me.  What also infuriated me was how the incident was initially handled...no punitive consequence for these students until someone spoke up and asked why people with disabilities are constantly being discriminated..as if it's okay.  Why are these hurtful words accepted as common language among kids.  Why is the r-word still being used as if it doesn't hurt.  Just like the n-word hurts so many, especially the African American population.  The word is used so casually and people do not understand the impact that it has.  

It's hurtful...not helpful in conversations.  It brings no value to you or the person you are talking to.  The times I have heard it used is to put someone down and make the person feel inferior to them.  

Please stop saying it.  

If someone says it in conversation, please ask them not to.  If you have children, please teach them why it is so hurtful to my son, to me, my family, my friends with children with Ds, and people with developmental disabilities.  

Tomorrow, March 5th, is the 6th annual campaign to spread awareness to stop the r-word.  Spread the word to end the word.  Please consider making a commitment to end the word.  



Don’t Use Foul Or Abusive Language. Let Everything You Say Be Good And Helpful, So That Your Words Will Be An Encouragement To Those 
Who Hear Them.
Ephesians 4:29 NLT

What if we used our words to encourage others, to instill belief in them, to help them reach their full potential?  

Your words are either helpful or hurtful.  You decide.