It is a story filled with passion and compassion, with irreverence and humor, with the awareness of struggles and the joy of achievements.
It also is a love story: The love of two generations of parents for their children, the love shared by husbands and wives, and the love that binds brothers and sisters.
At its center are a father and a son.
The father, Tim, was born with shattering physical disabilities, a child whose future was in doubt. But he survived multiple operations, penetrating pains, hurtful taunts, failures and triumphs, and the roller coaster of emotions to reach the heights of his profession, journalism.
The son, Jason, was born with Down syndrome. It was the insensitive and crude doctor who announced his birth with the words that became the family’s rallying anthem: “Some people even take them home.”
Jason mostly lives and thrives in the world of a five-year-old at age 35, yet at times his insights are those of a wise man. And the sweetness and charm of his personality have touched all who know him. He leaves his mark wherever he goes.
There are many other supporting actors in this story, and they all have had a role to play, none more so than Jean, beloved wife and mother, and Tim and Jason’s north star.
Tim McGuire, 67, is professor emeritus at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. As the former Russell Chair, McGuire focused on teaching courses on ethics and on the business components of journalism including operations, emerging media, corporate responsibility and the future of media. He retired in May 2016.
Tim also happens to be a Disabled Dad with a Down syndrome Son named Jason. In his book, you are welcomed into his family and history in a way that makes you understand, his life without his son Jason, would never have been as fulfilling as it has been.
As a reader, I found myself laughing out loud at Jason’s one-liners, the families ability to laugh and be sarcastic instead of crying “Why Me?!”. I was especially touched at the caring, giving and overwhelming love both Tim and his wife, Jean, shared. Exemplified also in their two other children, Tracy and Jeff, who never cringed at having a brother with Down syndrome, and instead lead as models on how we should all behave.
I implore you, dear reader, to dive into this book. Learn about what life is like with both a colorful and witty Disabled person and the hilarious deadpan delivery of a good joke from a boy with Down syndrome.
Our personal favorite quote from his book:
” I will never be an editor again, but if I were, I would focus only on the bigger issues facing the newspaper and the editor. We all spend too much time on things that don’t matter.”
In our current world, where the truth is distorted and people are aborting babies only because they’re different, we need this kind of focus even more. It’s important to the people with Down syndrome, Autism and Disabilities to know that they are accepted in the world, they enrich it and we’re better for them. The best way to educate everyone is to continue to talk openly about our challenges, be honest and keep writing, blogging, and using positive reinforcement on social media.