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FIRST-PERSON: A tiny handshake & squeaky voice

DITTMER, Mo. (BP) — At the eye clinic at St Louis Children’s Hospital, more than 25 people received a tap on their leg or shoulder the other morning followed by a tiny little handshake and then heard a squeaky little voice say, “Hey Low! How wa you?”

As my 6-year-old son Noah made his way around the room, he quickly gained everyone’s attention and I could actually see them look forward in anticipation for their own personal greeting from this precious little boy. Every face in the room had a big smile during and after his little introductions.

As Noah was making his rounds, one of the parents asked me about him, and I was able to share his and Andrew’s adoption story. One gentleman remarked out loud to the whole room, “You know, if more people were like Noah, this world would be a lot better place!” Several said, “That’s for sure!” or shook their heads in agreement.

As we left the office to go home, almost everyone who had been there when we arrived said, “Goodbye, Noah!” He, of course, responded with a brief little wave and a squeaky “Byeee!” as he ran down the hall giggling with me chasing him from behind.

I absolutely love it when Noah and his brother Andrew greet other people. Sometimes the greetings will involve a wave, handshake, hug or even an occasional kiss on the cheek. It has been so cool to watch as frowns are quickly turned upside down in stores, hospitals, churches and other places as unsuspecting people get a surprise greeting from one of our little guys. Our boys acknowledge almost everybody they see — not because they are running for some political office, want money or candy, or because Mommy or Daddy “told them to.” They do it because they genuinely love other people. As a dad, it has been really good for my heart to see these transformations as well.

As Christ followers, may we see others the same way my little guys with Down syndrome do. In other words, let’s treat others the same way Jesus did. He’s the One we are following after all and who spoke these words: “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).