Michael turned out to be a special Scout in more ways than one. I would like to say that I had no reservations when I read an email from a family relocating to our town; their two boys were in Scouting and would be looking for a new troop; the older one had Downs Syndrome. I remembered how cruel my peers had been to anyone who wasn’t ‘normal’. I was concerned with how our scouts would react; I shouldn’t have been.
At a Patrol Leader’s Council I mentioned that two boys would be visiting and that one had Downs Syndrome, the scouts had no reaction whatsoever. No concerns, nothing remarkable.
Michael, his brother and his Dad showed up one Monday night and that was that. The Scouts immediately accepted Michael and his brother as one of their own. In four years that hasn’t changed. Michael is no angel; no the term ‘angel’ rarely comes to mind. Thankfully Michael’s capacity for mischief is balanced by an equal capacity for friendship. Some days Michael is pretty sure all I do is spoil his fun; usually the feeling is mutual..
Michael’s understanding of time is different from most of us and we pick up wherever we left off when we were last together. If we were on good terms last time I get a big smile, a hearty hello and a hug and say; “Michael, hugs are for family, Scout’s shake hands”. Then I get a handshake too. If the last time I saw him I was a “mean man” I get a frown, but we both get over it.
Michael has taught me to look at the world differently, to cultivate patience and tolerance; to honor every person’s own unique nature. I would like to think that Michael has learned some of the same things from us.