Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Notions of Success

While thinking of ideas for my upcoming paper on notions of success, I thought of a few that would be interesting. One of them, Dr. Ashe mentioned to me last year when I first told her I was taking The Art of Living. Often people associate getting ahead with living a successful life, and frequently those who are deemed "successful" in life are very intelligent. Intelligence seems to be valued very highly in our society, but can you live a successful life with a below average intelligence? My younger sister has down syndrome, and recent US studies have indicated that when Down syndrome is diagnosed prenatally, 84% to 91% of those babies will be killed by abortion. (http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/1301/26/)

Why is it that people assume that their child will not be "successful" enough to even have the chance to live? This raises big questions to me about what it means to be successful in life. When I look at my sister, who is only four years old, I already see a wonderfully loving person who will clearly have postive contriutions to our society, but I wonder if others see her as not unsuccessful because she won't be as quick as other kids her age.

I'm not sure if this is what I want to write about, but I can see it making a compelling paper about notions of success.

1 comment:

  1. When Craig and I went for pre-conception counseling (is that a term? We had tests run before we planned to try to have a child), we decided not to have an amnio if we managed to achieve a pregnancy because its findings wouldn't change our decision about having a baby. Our biggest concern was with suffering; we wanted to know whether my epilepsy drug would make the risk of debilitating spina bifida too high, and whether we were carriers of cystic fibrosis. The doctor seemed stunned that we were more concerned about whether any child we might conceive would suffer than whether he or she would be homecoming queen or valedictorian. What a strange world we live in.

    So, obviously, I think this is an intriguing topic. You might explore something like alternative versions of success, ways in which families and individuals with particular challenges re-define success to fit their realities. Hmm . . .