Thursday, May 1, 2014

No Greatness Without Goodness by Randy Lewis (book review)

I thought I would enjoy this book by Randy Lewis, "No Greatness Without Goodness," simply because he has an autistic son and so do I and he's made Walgreens into a company that includes disabled people in its workforce. But it was so much more.

I found myself nodding along with him when he said his son, Austin, "has taught us to celebrate the little victories." I understood. Moose finally can swing on the swings by himself and go high! I cried as they found out Austin's diagnosis for their grief that most parents go through in these situations.

image via Amazon
Our sons are very different (Lewis used a saying from the autism community that I'd never heard before: "if you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism.") but the protective parenting is something I completely understand. Lewis started with the idea to integrate those with disabilities into Walgreens distribution centers because he was worried for his own son's future after his death. What happens to disabled people when their families die?

In getting everyone on board (from CEOs down) with this initiative, Lewis spoke to 5,000 of their store managers. He told them of about the cool automated distribution centers and then cut to his big announcement: "one-third of the workforce in our new distribution centers will be people with disabilities." He spoke more about the statistics that most disabled people will never have a job and how hard people had been working up to that point to get the jobs waiting when the distribution centers opened. Then he asked those to stand who had someone they cared about that had a disability. A thousand people stood. Lewis says to "help people see themselves in the story, and it will become their story too."

This is not only a wonderful story but a well-written one. Lewis just draws you in to his family, to his life, to his vision. Before having Moose, I felt what most people felt at disabilities. "One reason people with disabilities face so much discrimination is that they often frighten us." I see this in smaller kids that don't know how to play with or engage Moose. "One of the great blessings of loving Austin has been that I can't look away." The same is true for me - I see the people behind the disability now. I wish parents would SHOW their children how to engage other kids with disabilities, no matter how awkward it may seem. Children are not going to learn this on their own; I didn't. I'm still learning but people like Lewis challenge me more in my faith, seeing God's people for who they are, not what they can't do. "What we see may be painful, but it is the truth. Not only will it set us free, but it will also strengthen our resolve to do something about it."

I'm thankful for Lewis and other people like him who are doing something about it; involving the disabled world into the abled world. Making us see one another for who we are - people.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

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