The Meadows Blog


Michael Crawley - Sunday, July 10, 2016

America is at a crossroads. Recent events in our nation have left us both alarmed and heartbroken. And while our immediate response may be to condemn one group or another, in reality, we are all to blame. This country belongs to all of us. Therefore we all share the same responsibility to see that every citizen is treated justly and fairly.

We live at a point in time when our country faces many complex issues that we strongly disagree on – and probably always will. These include abortion, gun control, same-sex marriage, religion, politics, immigration and many other controversial topics that people are passionate about. But that passion does not have to take precedence over intelligence. We can disagree without our differences of opinion turning into hate and violence. We must understand that it is in our own best interest as a nation that we find civil ways to discuss the issues that can otherwise divide us.

America was founded on ideas and concepts that represent the highest moral principles human beings can conceive, but they must be embraced day after day to be sustained. The ability to make them a consistent reality depends on our attitudes because how we think and what we believe makes us who we are.

Unfortunately, we want to take the easy way out and have others solve our nation’s problems for us. We expect public officials to provide all the answers to society’s ills. Each election cycle brings forth the conviction that one party or the other has the answer, and yet after the election, no matter which side wins, things remain the same. That is because we are content to just sit back and wait for the necessary change to magically happen. Then when we are shocked that it doesn’t occur, we vote that party out of power and the next one comes in and history repeats itself. Meanwhile, our society suffers while we wring our hands and cry out that somebody should do something. But no one does. Each of us is focused on ourselves, and we are not inclined to step out of our comfort zone to make a difference in the lives of those who are in need, at risk or vulnerable.

It is just not reasonable to expect elected officials, scholars, religious leaders, or anyone else who has influence in society, to improve our world without our active participation. Change happens one person at a time. Each day the American spirit is kept alive or torn apart by the actions of all 320 million of us.

Until we are willing to accept responsibility for making our nation a more inclusive and compassionate place, it will not happen. Until we are willing to accept and not judge, things will not improve. Until we are willing to be tolerant of those we don’t agree with or don’t understand, the hostile environment we now find ourselves in will continue. Blaming each other for our problems does nothing to solve them, but respecting each other allows us to open up constructive dialogues that can result in real solutions. If we are to heal our nation it is up to each one of us.

Today we are presented with a clear choice. We can continue to do and say nothing about the violence that grips our country, or we can take a stand as citizens of the greatest nation on earth and make the effort to understand each other, accept each other and to love each other. However, if we are unwilling to change our own personal behavior we have no right to expect others to change.

It is a fact that America is now more diversified than ever. Unfortunately, many of us pretend that isn’t the case, preferring instead to waste our time in futile attempts to deny reality. But if we will open our hearts and minds to the tremendous beauty and power of diversity, and if we will do everything possible to make society inclusive, we can ensure that the United States has a future based on justice for everyone.

But to make certain that is the path our country takes, we have to be willing to see people for who they really are, without clouding our judgment with unfounded bias. We must understand that a person’s ethnicity, gender, age or disability has no bearing on their humanity. We must accept that no one is inferior or less than. We must believe that we are all the same.

As we sit safely in our homes and watch with disbelief the brutal acts that continuously fill the news, it is critical to remember that whether it is a person of color lying dead in the street or an individual in a police uniform, they are both Americans. When they are violently cut down, they are both denied the opportunity to live out their lives. They both leave behind families and loved ones who are shattered. They are both victims of the culture of disrespect that has been created and allowed to persist. Their deaths are the result of our unwillingness to appreciate and value the humanity of every member of society. 

America is our nation, and we are free to make the choices that determine its future. But in these troubled times, it is crucial that we have the wisdom to choose tolerance over belligerence, understanding instead of divisiveness and compassion in place of hate. Change is not easy, but the rewards more than pay for any discomfort we experience. However, if we do not alter our thoughts, opinions, and attitudes, if our perspective remains negative and close-minded, if we continue to be suspicious and cynical, we will suffer and our children will suffer.

Democracy is not about having someone take care of us, it is about taking care of each other. Our freedom brings with it the responsibility to do what is right.

If our nation is to thrive, it is imperative that we develop the strength of character to embrace the essential truth that every life is equal.


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Politics and Developmental Disabilities

Michael Crawley - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

The regrettable state of politics in our nation is a concern for all of us. Unfortunately, many people do not take the actions, or lack of action, by elected officials seriously – until it suddenly affects them personally. But if we allow ourselves to step back and look at the bigger picture, we can see that political decisions impact all of our lives in profound ways. 
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The Meadows 2017 Walk-A-Thon

Michael Crawley - Monday, August 28, 2017

Once again it is time for our annual Walk-A-Thon fundraiser. Each year we ask individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and corporations for their financial support to assist us in our ongoing mission to provide jobs for men and women who have developmental disabilities as well as other intellectual and physical challenges. 
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Inspiration Not Required

Michael Crawley - Friday, April 21, 2017

Because we employ individuals with developmental disabilities, the staff of the Meadows is frequently told that the work we do is “inspiring”. The people who pay us this particular compliment are just being kind. They mean well, and we appreciate that. However, the truth is, we are just average men and women who have chosen this field and who are doing our best to assist those with intellectual and physical challenges, while at the same time earning a pay check. We are nothing more or less. 
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The Good

Michael Crawley - Saturday, April 08, 2017

Each day, through our constant exposure to television, newspapers and social media, we are buried under an avalanche of bad news. From the moment we start our day, until we turn off the light at night, we endure an onslaught of negative stories about people hurting and mistreating each other in heartbreaking ways. We are steadily worn down by the worst behavior that mankind engages in, to the point where it becomes easy to believe that the world is an evil place and that there is little hope that we can change it - but that is not the truth.  
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The Eulogy

Michael Crawley - Friday, March 24, 2017

Even though the church was small, Reverend Hansen estimated it was less than half full. Only the immediate family and a few acquaintances had bothered to come together on this blustery January day to pay their last respects to Donald Phillips, a man who, during his eighty plus years of life, had survived a multitude of challenges that included being ignored and rejected by those around him.  
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A Gathering Place

Michael Crawley - Friday, March 10, 2017

The large room is located near the front of our facility. It has sixteen long tables and can comfortably seat sixty people. Mounted on a wall are three computer stations that are used to clock people in and out. On one side of the room there are eight microwaves, and on the other side is a water fountain. Three of the four walls are lined with lockers, but there are no locks because there is trust.  
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The Reality of Employment

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Meadows Center for Opportunity was established in 1983 for the sole purpose of employing adults with developmental disabilities. It has been our privilege to work with many different men and women through the years, and we are honored that some of these individuals are still working with us, more than three decades later. 
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Fading Away

Michael Crawley - Saturday, November 26, 2016

Jim Haley pushed the doorbell for the third time, and guessed correctly that his sister was not wearing her hearing aids. He waited for a couple of seconds and then rapped forcefully on the door. After a few more moments he finally heard noise from inside. Slowly the door was unlocked and opened slightly. Jim watched with amusement as his sister’s face peeked out. 
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Unconditional Love

Michael Crawley - Sunday, November 13, 2016

Love is the most powerful force there is because it brings people together in a way that nothing else can. Without it, humanity could not survive. Fortunately, the world is blessed with many different types of love. There is the romantic attraction shared by two people. There is the affection that results from deep friendship. And there is the deep and abiding love that dwells in a family, particularly parental love for their children. All of these produce intense feelings that create a willingness to focus on someone else’s needs. 
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Brothers and Sisters

Michael Crawley - Friday, October 28, 2016

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The Meadows
Center for Opportunity

1000 South Kelly
Edmond, Oklahoma

phone: 405.348.4470
fax: 405.340.5395