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Yom Rishon, 15 Tammuz 5774

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Map Out Your Future

on Saturday, 01 February 2014. Posted in Temple Times Articles

"Map out your future, but do it in pencil."
~ Jon Bon Jovi

As parents, teachers, children and human beings, we all have plans. Sometimes we are so certain how things should and will turn out that we don't consider that there is another option. Life is full of many moving parts, and with that comes a need to be flexible as we navigate our plans.

Here is one of my favorite writings by Emily Perl Kingsley:

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

My hope for each and every one of us is that we learn to appreciate where we are as we celebrate where we are. And while we are at it, maybe we can use a colored pencil to draw our map.


Comments (1)

  • Linda Levine

    Linda Levine

    30 January 2014 at 17:13 |
    Hello Chava... I always enjoy your monthly blog, even though I am way beyond having children in school. This month's comments mean a lot to me, as I am an old friend of Emily Perl Kingsley. I reconnected with Emily about 15 yrs ago when we celebrated our 45th high school reunion. But of course, I knew of Emily's famous piece called Welcome to Holland. Who knew in high school that this lively and dynamic friend in 1970 would become one of the primary writers for a relatively new TV show...Sesame St!!? And that after giving birth to a son with Downs Syndrome would introduce children with disabilities to the young TV audience through her position as a writer for the show. God works in mysterious and miraculous ways. Emily's son Jason was the first child with disabilities to appear on Sesame St...and he is still living a quality life, having been included in public school up through his senior year. He and a friend even wrote a book about his experiences as an individual with disabilities. Nice to see you featuring this story this month. Linda L.

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