"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants ...

Trolling through FaceBook today (because I really have nothing else to do, right?!), I was noticing some of my American friends posting their thoughts on the debt they owe to those who came before them and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Which, I honour and respect that, it's just that we tend to save those thoughts for a different day ...

However, it did get me thinking about how much we, as parents, owe to those who came before us. How both we and our children stand on their shoulders.

Pretty much any advance made in the world of disabilities, whether we look to the US, across Canada or right here in Nova Scotia came about through the sheer work, determination, dedication and (never to be forgotten) passion of those parents.

Think about it ... in the US, we need only to look at IDEA; in Canada we could look at the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and elsewhere; here in Nova Scotia, I need only look almost literally across the street from my home to see the Flowercart. I can only presume that other sheltered workshops throughout the Province came about through a similar process. Please understand that I'm not suggesting that any of these concepts (particularly sheltered workshops) couldn't be improved on, just that, at the time, they were a giant step forward for the disability community.

It's true, I have had (and shared) such thoughts on many occasions, but what makes this time different perhaps are the four parent-inspired and created innovations I am aware of in my own back yard - both CAPRE and the Alexander Society for Inclusive Arts have been around for many, many years; Kaleidoscope is relatively new; and Rowan's Room Respite and Developmental Centre is pretty much brand new. I am proud to personally know all the families that started these endeavors and of the fact that all four are happening right here, in my Annapolis Valley.

If I may, I am particularly proud (at the moment) of Elizabeth Mason Squires for taking on this huge venture:
The Skills to Navigate
It’s not about fitting in. It’s about giving them the skills and tools to better navigate a world that doesn’t always understand or accept differences. It’s about being who they are but giving them the power to control their understanding of unfamiliar situations and differences, as well as the ability to master their own environment.
Be it with respect to education, day programming, leisure, housing or any other of the myriad of issues facing our communities, the facts remain the same - it so often takes highly-motivated parents and families desperate to find something useful and workable for their family members to create the next bridge forward, to the benefit of so many.

May we never forget that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. But equally important, may we never forget our corresponding duty to make life better for future generations.



And while we're doing that, please don't forget to check out the above organizations.

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