Thursday, 13 November 2014

Noah VanVooren's special night - proof that there are some really exceptionally nice people in the world

Earlier this year, atheist-in-chief Richard Dawkins gave the following advice to parents who learn that they're about to bring a Down's Syndrome baby into the world: "Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice." After howls of protest, Dawkins issued one of those non-apology apologies that have become so fashionable in recent years (you know, the "sorry you're so thick that my perfectly reasonable comments upset you" variety): "My phraseology may have been tactlessly vulnerable to misunderstanding, but I can't help feeling that at least half the problem lies in a wanton eagerness to misunderstand." No - I think the whole problem lies in your arrogant cold-heartedness, professor.

To be fair, it's easy for parents of physically and mentally normal children to lecture couples who learn they're about to give birth to a severely disabled child on what they should do - it wouldn't occur to me for a moment ever to do so. I just thank God we were never faced with that choice. Our hale and hearty son, who's at university, popped in for a visit this afternoon during a day trip to an art exhibition, and, as he waved goodbye and strolled off, I thought of the parents of Noah VanVooren of Little Chute, Wisconsin and the agonising choices they must have had to make all those years ago when doctors gave them the devastating news about their boy - and of their reaction to the kindness and decency shown by all those who conspired to give Noah such a marvellous present. Hard not to be touched by such decency.

There was more about Noah in the Mail last April, here - I recommend checking out the video of him finding out that he's been accepted on a college course catering for developmentally disabled students: I agree with him - his parents rock. And so does he. 

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