COMMENTARY: Acts of Kindness and Two Sets of Proud Parents

I received an email with a story worth sharing. Only the names have been changed to preserve privacy.

Doug is the proud and loving father of Emma, a high school junior who takes a leadership class responsible for putting on dances and other student events. All student body officers must take the class, but a number of other kids like Emma who just like to participate are also enrolled. Well, Emma is a little different and she’s becoming more aware of those differences. Recently, she began to tell her father through tears, “I don’t like having Down’s Syndrome.”

Doug comforted and encouraged his daughter the best he could, but he admits he always wonders how her classmates really perceive her. Do they just tolerate or patronize her, or do theysee the richness of her character and appreciate her sense of humor and the beauty of her heart?

These concerns came into play when he visited Emma at a school event where she was working at a table with the student body president, a handsome kid named Chris. Later, Emma announced that Chris had invited her to the homecoming dance. Doug was doubtful and afraid that she might be embarrassed or hurt if she misunderstood. So he checked with the leadership teacher, who discreetly confirmed it was true. This extraordinary young man asked Emma to accompany him to dinner and the dance.

Doug was moved to tears and confessed he was ashamed he doubted this could happen. He wrote of his joy seeing his daughter prepare for one of the greatest days in her life. And he marveled at the kindness and self-confidence of the young man who was able to see and care about the inner Emma.

Doug was rightfully proud of Emma, but how good would you feel to be Chris’s parents?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 4

  1. Hi Michael:

    I’ve heard the prom date story reported before, but it still caused me to tear up. Thank you for reminding me of young people’s innate goodness, and thank you for allowing me to start my day with a tear. This isn’t the first time your commentaries have done that for me. This is only the first time (and not the last) that I’ve commented. I teach Math at a juvenile detention center in the D.C. area and I want to assure you that the young people with whom I work have worth and goodness, often in spite of themselves. Thanks.


  2. As a parent, I would have humble pride in my son. We have the kind of rapport where I would know his reason and knowing my son… I would be honored to know such a man is my son.

  3. Quite a touching story. Rational isn’t a synonym for love. As for how good anyone would feel being Chris’ parent, I believe that would depend on a number of factors but I really commend Chris. His action speaks highly of his personality and character

  4. I work at a High School in North Idaho. I chaperoned our High School prom this year. One of my students who is popular with his peers, an athlete, and well loved by all staff members also asked a young lady with Down’s Syndrome. Not only did I watch them dance together all night, I watched our students welcome her with open arms. She happens to attend another school and is not related to the young man who asked her. Thank you to the two young men with eyes that see true beauty!

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