This Year: Offer A Filipe Moment to Yourself and To Your Class

Jeremy and Felipe Riding the Waves!

As we begin to enjoy the cool fall weather…as pumpkins and fall leaves remind us of the changing seasons…I want us all to remember a sacred summer moment…this one right here.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this picture.
What do you notice?

The JOY first off.
We can’t see this pic and not feel joyful ourselves.

As the amazing advocate Dave Hingsburger said, “Perfect image of direct support.”

So we are sucked into a moment where someone with a significant disability needs DIRECT SUPPORT to make the moment happen and yet, it’s JOYFUL.

Direct Support does not mean burdensome.
It doesn’t mean overwhelming.
It doesn’t mean expensive.
It means DIRECT.

Notice the face of the person offering the full support…it’s JOYFUL too.
Let’s give credit right now for the photo:
The event was through an organization called A Walk On Water in Huntington Beach, California…the photo taken by Lynn Beeler @nikon850lady…the expert surfer is Filipe Toledo @filipetoledo…the beginning surfer is Jeremy.
Everyone always notices Jeremy’s joy…but I want you consider Filipe, the expert surfer.

Does he look bummed? Or burdened?
He has mad surfing skills and instead of just using them for his own enjoyment, he has been given an opportunity to use them for GOOD…to lift someone else up…yes, physically…but also emotionally…Jeremy – the beginning surfer – has the chance to actually surf…and his JOY cannot be contained.

This is GRACE IN ACTION…a sacred goodness…a moment that is bigger than ourselves…it’s exactly what we hope for and pray for.

All thanks to Filipe.

But, it is Jeremy’s presence that’s offering this chance to Filipe.

Without Jeremy there is no extraordinary moment…
just a regular old surfing day.

Look around.

We have experts all around us.
Experts in reading.
Experts in writing.
Experts in math or science.
Experts in kindness.
Experts in faith.
Experts in honesty.
Experts in art or music or dance…or sports.

They are all around us.

But how often are they asked to step outside of themselves to be BIGGER, more NOBLE, more AWESOME than an average day?

Inclusion asks this of us…and we rise to the occasion.
When we do, we get moments like this.

I’m sure there were plenty of wipe outs…plenty of wet, soggy, HARD moments.

That doesn’t discount the magic here…in this moment.

Inclusion is a gift…for everyone.

We cheat our typical students when we do not offer Filipe moments to them…we cheat our educators and administrators…we even cheat our students with disabilities…because they, too, can be Filipe.

This year, at your school…in your work life…on your teams…and in your families…keep your eyes open for the chance to rise to the occasion…a chance to be like Filipe and offer your expertise…a chance for GRACE in your daily life.

Work for inclusion every day.

The joy is worth it.
The opportunity is worth it.
The community it builds is worth it.