By Erin Johnson
Erin Johnson is an ESS teacher at Holland Christian School, a member school with All Belong for many years. She works at Rose Park Christian Elementary and facilitates Unified Sports for elementary and middle school students.
My younger brother has Down syndrome. He has inspired so many of my life’s decisions, including my career path of special education, my heart for the work of inclusion and disability advocacy, and most recently, the writing and publication of my first book. Growing up alongside my brother still is one of my life’s greatest joys. He is my closest friend, and the best uncle I could have ever dreamed up for my children. He is an incredible reflection of the Lord’s goodness and love.
Growing up alongside my brother still is one of my life’s greatest joys. He is my closest friend, the best uncle I could have ever dreamed up for my children, and an incredible reflection of the Lord’s goodness and love.
Growing up with a brother with a disability wasn’t always easy. There were sacrifices that were made throughout my childhood. There were opportunities missed out on and time that had to be shared with my parents. But, I wouldn’t trade any of it, because what I gained in my brother was a best friend. He gave me the opportunity to explore my gifts as I learned more about myself through being his sister. His presence in my life also offered me a new perspective — a perspective that encouraged a slower pace, a more joy-filled view of the simple things, and a heart that could celebrate differences and see others through a lens of compassion.