Monday, March 19, 2012

Cal Thomas - My Brother's Valuable Life

Sometimes well-known figures give us a glimpse into their personal lives revealing things we wouldn't otherwise have known.  Conservative commentator Cal Thomas, is known for his involvement with the religious right and also a re-thinking of that perspective.  Few know anything of his personal life or of his growing up years.  Here is a glimpse into a man and his family that is worth pondering.

My brother's valuable life
By Cal Thomas

How does one measure whether a life was a success, or a failure? Some would measure it by recognition, that is, how many knew the person's name. For others, the measure of a successful life would be the amount of wealth accumulated, or possessions held. Still others would say a life was successful if the person made a major contribution to society -- in medicine, sports, politics, or the arts.
By that standard my brother, Marshall Stephen Thomas, who died January 5, was a failure. If, however, your standard for a successful life is how that life positively touched others, then my brother's life was a resounding success.
Shortly after he was born in 1950, Marshall was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Some in the medical community referred to the intellectually disabled as "retarded" back then, long before the word became a common schoolyard epithet. His doctors told our parents he would never amount to anything and advised them to place him in an institution. Back then, this was advice too often taken by parents who were so embarrassed about having a disabled child that they often refused to take them out in public.
Our parents wanted none of that. In the '50s, many institutions were snake pits where inhumanities were often tolerated and people were warehoused until they died, often in deplorable conditions. While they weren't wealthy, they were committed to seeing that Marshall had the best possible care, no matter how long he lived. 

Read the rest of the story here.

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