Three Rights Make a Left
by KEN LEONARD
We have my granddaughter, Harper, for the Christmas Holidays. She turned four on December 18 and Lori, her mom and I have been in heaven.
The other day Harper and I watched the movie “Finding Dory” while she snuggled with me in my recliner. I have to say the movie got to me. It takes on a subject that is seldom if ever addressed in film, especially in a kid’s movie. Dory is mentally challenged. In the movie they say that she has a problem with long-term memory but the implication is pretty obvious. Her loving parents use repetition to teach her concepts to keep her safe. They also carefully line up shells to their home in case she get’s lost. That was OK until a tragic event takes her far from home for a very long time.
When I was 14, my youngest brother Shawn was born and we became a family with a member who is mentally challenged. My mom and dad embarked on a lifelong commitment to give him as normal a life as possible. Though both of my parents showered him with love, my dad literally rearranged the priorities in his life. Before Shawn, my dad often worked long hours and sometimes even two jobs to make ends meet. But as Shawn grew up he invested more and more time with my brother who really needed his time. To be sure Mom and Dad gave all of us a magic childhood of camping, fishing and hunting. But dad became a Boy Scout leader so he could make sure Shawn had the best experience in Boy Scouts possible. They became members of “The Order Of The Arrow” together and shared a solemn experience called “The Ordeal” where they camped alone in the woods as an initiation into that elite society. Shawn became an Eagle Scout and was even awarded the National Award For Lifesaving. But the award Shawn is most proud of is The God And Country Award.
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