graphic with three pictures that include one of Penny standing in a green field, a screenshot of an article in Plough, and a picture of Penny climbing over rock formations

Meritocracy Is the Antithesis to Love | Plough Essay

Meritocracy is the antithesis to love. 

I first wrote those words almost two years ago, when we were traveling cross-country and we were taking regular hikes as a family. On those hikes, I slowed my typical pace in order to walk with our daughter Penny. As many of you know, Penny has Down syndrome, and she has always moved and learned and grown more slowly than most kids. 

I used to see this slower pace as a problem. I see it differently now. I see it as an invitation to reconsider the world. I see it as an invitation to love.

I had a chance to write about love and Down syndrome and patience and meritocracy for Plough Quarterly in an essay this month: “When Merit Drives Out Grace.” As I write there:

“…vulnerability is not a flaw in [Penny’s] character or a defect in her humanity. In fact, it is an aspect of her humanity that helps me better understand who I am, who we all are. Achievement and affluence have helped me hide my vulnerability. Slowing down with Penny has helped me embrace vulnerability as essential to who I want to become.”

You can find the whole essay here.

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