I’m just listening to the build-up to the closing ceremony of the Paralympics and heard David Cameron (UK Prime Minister) has saying it’s not about what people can’t do, it’s about what they can do.
That’s exactly what has stood out to me about about the Paralympics. I have also seen it closer at hand. My nephew was effectively born with Multiple Sclerosis, and peaked at 2 years old when he was just starting to push up onto his legs. He then spent another 9 years gradually declining, and survived just past his 11thh birthday. He was originally given about 5 years to live, so managed to more than double that. My sister and her family just got on with life, giving him as much as they could, and giving the others in the family the same. Yes, it was tough at times and she struggled at times, but that was life, and he was their son, so you do what you can.
Throughout his life my sister concentrated on what my nephew could do. He never spoke. He eventually lost almost all sight as his optic nerve withered away. But he always enjoyed music, right to the end. He loved making music on a keyboard. He enjoyed listening to family (and my family) playing on a metallophone. The enticement which got him trying to control his arms to press a pad in front of him was starting a tape recorder playing music for him. My sister always encouraged him and stretched him as far as he could go.
Not everyone has such challenges in life. But we all have our own challenges. We choose how to respond – do we curse our bad luck, or do we focus on what we can do and how we can still take things forwards?