Because, if you're like me...and I realize that probably none of you are...I never saw a person with Down Syndrome until I had Joshua. That means I lived over 25 years of my life...and I had lived all over the United States and in 2 foreign countries by this point...never experiencing anyone too different from myself.
Am I seriously that unobservant?
WHERE were these precious souls in my world?
So, the more I've been around Joshua and his friends, the more I am able to see the differences and uniqueness in each person. Yes, they all have similarities. But even the ones who have Down Syndrome, altho they share the beautiful almond-shaped eyes, the short (travel-sized) stature, the lower (cuter) ears, they will have many, MANY differences in their personalities and abilities.
JUST LIKE WITH YOU AND EVERY OTHER PERSON IN YOUR LIFE.
I've noticed that people who aren't around kids/adults like Joshua, tend to lump them all in a group...and give them ALL characteristics/make expectations that are based on their own experiences.
Where I'm going with this is that for many years, Joshua's cabin at Camp Barnabas was FULL of young men with Down Syndrome. Red hair, blonde hair, brown hair; Black, Hispanic, White; tall, short, heavy, thin...IT WAS SO COOL!
Over the past few years, tho, his cabin has been more diverse, with boys who have various challenges...not just those with Down Syndrome. And that's okay, too.
In the cabins, there are bunk beds. All the campers sleep on all the bottom bunks, and all the CIA-helpers...they are calling them "missionaries" now...they sleep on the top. The guy who slept on the bunk next to Joshua was named Blake.
Before we left on drop-off day, I made Joshua's bed for him. Because he's a germ-freak, I always put a fitted sheet on the mattress first. Then, I put his pillow and sleeping bag on top of that...so that nothing has to touch the icky mattress.
Joshua said that the first night, he looked up and Blake had grabbed his (Joshua's) sleeping bag and pulled it off the bunk. Joshua went up to him and said, "hey, you can't take that off my bed," and jerked it out of Blake's hands. Blake then shoved Joshua in the head, and kind of bent his glasses a little. And that's when Joshua hauled off and smacked the kid.
Which, this is TOTALLY uncharacteristic of Joshua. He is a peace-maker.
Also, nobody puts baby in a corner.
And before you ask
Joshua was fine. He didn't get in trouble, since he was defending himself...and Daniel helped fix his glasses.
Joshua said that Blake got in trouble all week, but they still included him in everything...which just goes to show how hard the helpers and STAFF work to make everyone's camping experience the best and safest it can be. Joshua said that he just tried to stay out of Blake's way as much as he could.
In other news, they usually have hamburgers and hot-dogs on the first night of camp, but Joshua said THIS year, they had grilled chicken. He said the chicken was so hard, he couldn't even cut it...and Daniel-from-Colorado couldn't cut it.
And in his very next breath, he said, "it was really good."
And then he said, "maybe it wasn't even chicken...maybe it was buffalo."
"...overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21