What kinds of people do you admire? Is there a particular quality that you look for in a hero? What do you think qualifies as inspirational? For me there are many different kinds of heroes out there, mostly people who think of others more than themselves. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the kinds of parents I admire and why.
Have you ever had a moment when you lost control and pure emotion took over? I had one recently and I’m not ashamed to tell you about it. I have grown to admire all of the parents on Born This Way for their honesty and courage. I can’t imagine what it must be like to allow cameras into your life and then have the world critique your parenting. The two parents on the show that I can identify most with are Kris (Megan’s Mom) because she’s a single mother, and Joyce (John’s mom) because my son is bi-racial. Last week while we were at the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention, I had the good fortune to meet Joyce and John. The minute I saw them walk into the room I turned into a star-struck fan with no impulse control. I rushed over to Joyce and awkwardly asked if I could hug her. To me, Joyce is a true hero.
The way John told his own birth story to his friends during season one with such self-confidence said so much about how he was raised. The now famous quote “I’m alive, I’m human,” told the world that the Tucker family valued their son. Not only that, they taught him to be proud of who he was and help others feel that same pride. My eyes well up with tears every time I see that clip. I’m proud that my son now counts John among his best friends. He couldn’t have a better role model, and that’s thanks to Joyce and John Sr.
We also got to meet Rachel.
In this clip you can see how her parents have helped her become a very independent young woman.
I’m sure the parents of the cast members wouldn’t consider themselves to be anything special. We all love our children and do the best that we can for them. That’s what any parent does. But put yourselves in their shoes for a moment. Consider the cultural pressures that Elena’s parents faced. What about the medical issues that Megan had when she was born? How would (did) you handle those as a young mother? And these parents are all very genuine. I watched in awe as they interacted with fans and families at the convention. There was nothing “Hollywood” about them. You could tell that that they were really there to help others and further the cause. They were so amazed at the attention their children were receiving – I even saw some of the moms waiting in the tremendous lines to get their own children’s autographs!
I truly believe that these parents are making a great sacrifice for us and for future parents of children who have disabilities. They are taking the first giant step into the light and showing the world that life in our shoes isn’t as scary and sad as society would have you believe. I do hope you’ll watch Season 2 of BORN THIS WAY every Tuesday night on A&E Network.
Do you know someone who is raising a child with a disability who you admire? If so, tell us a little about him/her and they could win a $25 Target gift card from Born This Way on A&E!