Gil, what’s your secret?
Your sister, Marie, tells us that as a child you were in no hurry to grow, “It was when Gil was about two years old that we could see something was different because he didn’t walk. He moved and everything, but he was different.”
What is surprising in Gil's story is that no one discovered his Down Syndrome during his infancy. The whole family was patient with the developmental delays of the youngest child, showering him with affection and attention. Perhaps he had no need to walk or talk because he had all that he needed.
Yet, this patient, generous love also desired that Gil grow in his own way. Marie recalls this journey, “My mother, she said, ‘Oh well … he’ll come … he’ll walk! We’ll see, it’s going to happen, he’ll walk, then he’ll talk, and then all that’…
…but we saw that around the age of four, he was walking but there was an issue with communication. With persistence – my mom was at home at that time – he started to talk and to get around…”
It’s not hard to imagine how this extraordinary childhood has shaped the man Gil has become. The love of his family, their acceptance without judgement, and patient support for him to grow in his own way, seem to have instilled in Gil the quality of presence to others and to the present moment that guide his life today.
Mon Ami Gil - 4 - Childhood from L'Arche Canada on Vimeo.
As he shares these gifts, Gil invites us, his friends, to see the world the way he sees it, to think about our lives and what’s important to us, to rediscover our capacity for presence and wonder.
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Project initiator: Gil Frois
Filming: Voices and Colors New Media
Production: Jean Vanier Association
Web series adaptation: L’Arche Canada
Filming and dissemination partners: L’Arche Agapè and Association des Arches du Québec
A big thank you to cellist Anne Contant for the music of this clip.