Down Syndrome at Age 40
Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist George Will turns 71 years old tomorrow, and his son Jon—born with Down Syndrome—turns 40. Here’s the conclusion to a column he wrote about his son:
The eldest of four siblings, he has seen two brothers and a sister surpass him in size, and acquire cars and college educations. He, however, with an underdeveloped entitlement mentality, has been equable about life’s sometimes careless allocation of equity. Perhaps this is partly because, given the nature of Down syndrome, neither he nor his parents have any tormenting sense of what might have been. Down syndrome did not alter the trajectory of his life; Jon was Jon from conception on.
This year Jon will spend his birthday where every year he spends 81 spring, summer and autumn days and evenings, at Nationals Park, in his seat behind the home team’s dugout. The Phillies will be in town, and Jon will be wishing them ruination, just another man, beer in hand, among equals in the republic of baseball.
In the fight for human dignity—which includes caring for the unborn, caring for orphans, caring for those with disabilities—we need to see hearts changed by the gospel and laws changed in the land. But we also need a cultural of encouragement for those who are in need, and more stories like this can only help.
And I pray that George Will, who is an agnostic, will recognize that the only basis for human dignity is our equality before our Creator, who made each of us in his image, and that redemption can only be found in the person and in the work of Jesus Christ.