This is the letter that Ramón Pinna and María Rocafort Pérez, parents of Emilie, a girl with Down’s syndrome, they write to Chloe Lennon, a girl their daughter’s age also with SD English. Lennon, with over 30,000 followers on social media, is the small pioneer of the mismatched socks initiative.
We have the feeling that around here where we live you are not very well known . However, and although you might not believe it, more and more people join your viral challenge every day. It’s only been five years since you flooded everything with that fresh, childlike video that unwittingly imbued it with such profound meaning that, beyond the waves of love and Instagram photos, perhaps it hasn’t been fully understood in the adult world.
We have a daughter who is almost like you. Her name is Emilie and we would say that you are even similar. You are only a year older than him and you both have light hair, love rhythmic gymnastics and look at life with a little squint to always see the bright side of things.
When you told the world you’d wear different socks to the down syndrome day, you were barely five years old, and a few days ago you already turned ten. And that time passes, yes, but in this world of frenzy and ‘stories’ that come and go, time passes and passes us until we feel that something that happened as little as five years ago, it was like all life!
Our little Emilie is nine years old and in second grade. She progresses in her additions, her subtractions and her dictations, she knows the names of all the planets and autonomous communities and she doesn’t let a night go by without reading us some of her favorite stories.
The years go by and with the years the courses. Gradually she will have clarity of what she wants to be when she grows up, and little by little she will be closer to being able to become one if she continues studying every day and if we help her to continue believing in her possibilities.
A few days ago a good friend asked us:
– «With the art that your daughter has, why do you want her to study mathematics?»
We looked her in the eyes and said:
– «Well, you see, we want our daughter to study mathematics, exactly for the same reason that you want your children to study them».
Perhaps, Chloe, someone will tell you that math is very important for doing some “grown-up stuff” well; what about money issues, what about higher education, what about economics, yes blah, yes blah and yes blah.
But it’s not like that. Not our daughter, not you, not any other child in the world, with or without Down syndromeThat’s why you study math. You study them for something far more important. You need mathematics so that analytical thinking and the capacity for abstraction take root little by little and start to accompany you, although it is much more comfortable to convince yourself and try to convince yourself that you are not capable of one or the other.
You need math, because life is a problem, Chloe, and so will you. And in this world of trouble, Math is the academy where you children train your brains to learn to solve the small ones first and then the bigger ones, and also learning to always look for the best solution, to avoid mistakes and not fall into disappointment.
during your childhood you are shaping the brain for the rest of your life. And in this, Mathematics also appears as the driving force behind the creation of neural connections necessary to make your brain as dynamic, as flexible as possible and as capable of adapting to the reality that surrounds you, until it takes you to the “ready, ready, ready” opportunities that you will undoubtedly have in the future .
How important is Mathematics, right? How important to you and any other child, including our other two children, although no one has ever asked us why we want them to study them.
And yes, Chloe, math will cost you like the vast majority of children; but with dedication, with help, with adaptations and learning methodologies, and with effort, you will advance and help your brain, your mind and your thinking to become who they should become.
The problem is you don’t have it easy, my dear; neither you nor our little Emilie. And here we return to your socks, and to that world of the elderly so difficult for children to understand, and for the not-so-children that we try to understand.
For most adults, even when they wear mismatched socks, very curious things happen to them. The first is that older people who command a lot tend to get involved in very complex ideological debates about whether one educational system is better than another or vice versa; without stopping to understand that for you and Emilie to have the same opportunities that the rest of the children, you go to school where you go to school, politicians have to mobilize much more resources, in short, much more money, and monitor more closely who allocates that money so that they accompany you, train you and help you design the most complete version of what you can achieve.
‘No’ to conformism
And that, Chloe, is not easy. I don’t know –even- if we’ll see him. But we are much more concerned about something else that happens to the elderly, because it doesn’t just happen to those who are in charge, but to many. In this world that is rapidly passing through the 21st century, it “does good” to see you happy in school, to know that you are taken care of, that you are achieving the basics of learning, or that your parents and teachers aspire to you being what they think is right for you. you, regardless of whether you are motivated by something, little or nothing.
We know this didn’t sound easy or cool to you, and if it’s hard for you to understand, it’s because it has to do with “older people”, and what older people look like. No one will think of a “normal” child who can’t do something until they do; but only your mothers, perhaps your fathers, half a handful of prophets of pedagogical evolution and a non-dominant social minority, but fortunately growing little by little, will think so of you and Emilie.
We don’t know how it was lived in the UK, but here the thing about your socks was a bomb. Millions of good people put them back year after year in their day. Thousands of companies, schools, commercial textile brands, sports clubs and institutions of all kinds have already incorporated it into their diversity and inclusion policies and, as teenagers say on social media, your socks are great.
They ask and that’s it, Chloe.
A “already” that, for many, continues to sound a little longer, but halfway through; and that photo that no longer innovates of the circle of colored feet and balls in the living room, just before leaving the house on March 21st.
Dear Chloe, you carry the last name of Lennon’s “Beatle of Imagine”; do not stop imagining a world different from the one I told you about; a world where you can be whatever you want and for which, believe me, you need less socks and more mathematics, because as long as we are just warming our feet, our world will freeze.
María Rocafort Pérez and Ramón Pinna
PS: You must be wondering… No, don’t have the slightest doubt; Of course we wear mismatched socks!. Be happy in your day.