Simply Extra-Ordinary

By Lori L. Mattern, Shillington, PA

His name is Jon. He has Down syndrome and mental retardation. According to the dictionary definition, he has a failure in mental development that is severe enough to prevent normal participation in ordinary life. It is true that Jon doesn’t always subscribe to the unwritten social rules of our society, but he is authentic and passionate about life. Jon has gone far beyond participation in ordinary life – he has defined it, quite extraordinarily. I wish we all could!

  • Hug someone, it will make them smile.
  • Sit down when you are tired.
  • Eat when you are hungry.
  • Laugh from your belly.
  • Make faces at yourself in the mirror.
  • Say hello to people you’ve never met.
  • Taste the rain and eat some snow.
  • Blow kisses to babies.
  • Let a dog kiss you on the face.
  • Jump up and down if you are happy.
  • Splash in the tub.
  • Enjoy walking slowly.
  • Sing while you swing.
  • Run through every base even if you just hit a single.
  • Lick the spoon.
  • Admire wrinkles on older people.
  • Hold somebody’s hand.
  • Give away your toys to someone who needs them.
  • Always sing “God Bless America,” “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “The Star Spangled Banner” as loud as you can.
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Color outside the lines.
  • Cry when you are sad.
  • Never turn down homemade pie.
  • Roll in the grass.
  • Dance to any kind of music.
  • Ride the waves.
  • Yell your name to hear the echo.
  • Knock down sandcastles before the sea takes them away.
  • Always try new foods and just spit it out if you don’t like it.
  • Help blow out candles on other people’s birthday cakes.
  • Don’t just watch a movie, become part of it.
  • Savor vanilla ice cream.
  • Cheer for opposing teams.
  • Add chocolate syrup to your milk.
  • Pray.
  • Look for treasure.
  • Make footprints.
  • Tell someone, “It’s okay – I’m here.”
  • Try and try and try and try again.