Please welcome Pat Carver, Sibling Leadership Board Member, in the first in a series of blogs highlighting SLN leaders and board members.
Since 2013, I have served in active leadership positions with the Sibling Leadership Network (SLN). Beginning in January, I return happily to the role of SLN member and supporter. I have truly enjoyed the Network’s dedicated participants and remain astonished at the amount of work accomplished. We may just be the hardest working group of advocates I have ever known! And as we all know; those that work hard… often play hard, and it’s among siblings I laugh the hardest.
As Jimmy’s sister of 56 years, I know how to trust individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be the experts of their own lives. The opportunities and self-determination of my brother and thousands of others like him have advanced right before my eyes and I’ve witnessed much inclusion, integration and justice. Still, the struggle for equality rages on and I dream of the day we simply support people and not deliver pre-packaged programs.
What I value most is the connections made with a variety of SLN siblings/family members, and what I cherish most are the stories shared, complete with humor. I’ve confirmed that not only does humor connect us; it brings perspective to serious situations, and exposes deep truths. Laughter helps us flex and loosen up. It may even heal what ails you. Not always, but enough times.
It seems to me that those with a strong sense of humor are able to handle stresses of life with more compassion and less judgment. I remain unsure of which came first – care and resilience because of my brother, or the laughter and joy he created in our family. Not sure any of us six siblings ever thought of our brother as stressful. We cherish his unique ways all while repeating our Jimmy jokes until we cry with giggling gusto.
Because of this, I’d like to explore sibling stories about our affiliation through humor. If interested – please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. No big research project, just another way to joyfully share our connections. Thank you.