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Home » Shifting Great Expectations: Parenting A Child With Down Syndrome – Lito Ramirez (Transcript)

Shifting Great Expectations: Parenting A Child With Down Syndrome – Lito Ramirez (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Lito Ramirez’s talk titled “Shifting Great Expectations: Parenting A Child With Down Syndrome” at TEDxColumbus conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


A New Beginning

When I was six or seven years old, my dad moved our entire family from a place called Quezon City in the Philippines to a town just north of here, Mansfield, so he could give us a chance for a better life. It’s an immigrant story of hard work and sacrifice and passing down greater opportunities to your children, and it was an expectation imprinted on him very early on in his childhood by his oldest sister.

Medicine was a clear path to success in his family, and as a matter of fact, many became doctors and nurses, radiologists, oncologists, dentists. My dad chose to be a surgeon, and he made it clear that medicine is what he expected of his children as well.

Growing up, my dad would often take me on rounds with him at the hospital, but I noticed that he’d never introduce me to other doctors or staff as just Lito. “This is my youngest son, Lito,” he would say. It was always, “This is my youngest son, Lito, the next surgeon in the family.” I was just 12 at the time, but even then, I sensed the weight of those words.

He expected me to follow his same path because for him, there was immense pride in seeing his children conform to the hopes and dreams that he had set for them. You can imagine his angst then when I told him at the end of my sophomore year of college that I was dropping pre-med and going into politics.

When my wife and I first became parents, I started to have a greater understanding and appreciation for what my dad was feeling for his children so many years before. Now that I was having my own family, I’d have expectations too for my kids.

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