Be your own hero

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(Photo of my little hero, Wil โค )

Who doesn’t love an underdog story? The unlikely guy coming out the hero by sheer force of will and determination. Its no surprise that the classic underdog story, Rudy, is beloved by sports fans and non-sports fans alike. While Rudy’s main goal is to play football for Notre Dame, the real story is how an average guy with no special talent or privileges, realized his dream.ย  It sends the message of hope, that we can be and do anything if we want it bad enough, and we have the tenacity and endurance to pursue it. Rudy also had a pureness of intention. He wasn’t trying to hurt anyone or take advantage of anyone to get what he wanted.

My first memorable “Rudy” story, was early on in elementary school. I wanted to be on the elementary school choir in the worst way. The problem…I simply have a bad singing voice. The music teacher was all too aware of my inability to carry a tune. So, no surprise, when try-outs came, I did not make the cut.

Too young and naive to conjure up negative, defeatist thoughts we adults are really good at, I simply went home, sat at the piano, and practiced my “laaaaa” to each tune of the key. Then, when I thought I had it down, I approached the music teacher for another try-out. Guess what! Turned down once again.

So, being the wide-eyed child I was, my only thought was to get back to the piano ASAP and practice those “laaaa’s” with even more enthusiasm. After more practice, back to the teacher I went, and Bam! shot down once again. That was my third strike but I had no idea I should have considered myself out at that point.

Back again, for the fourth time, and…I made it!! The music teacher probably felt pity for me at this point, but whatever the reason, my pathetic voice was added to the choir, and there was not a singer standing on the stage that was prouder to be there than me.

The reason our own Rudy stories have a happy ending is whenever we hit a roadblock, we don’t view it as a dead end, and we don’t need to burn bridges or trample people on the way. We just look around for other avenues.

Wil lives a Rudy Story on a daily basis. Being a young child with Down syndrome, he has to overcome a lot of stereotypes without doing anything to earn them. He is also surrounded by peers who are achieving things at a much faster pace than he is. Do you think that holds him back? Heck no! Wil spends every single moment of the day being Wil. He goes about his business with a pureness of intention, and if he wants to achieve something, he will find a way.

Before Wil had the ability to walk on his own, he could walk on a balance beam while his physical therapist held his hand. She told me that kids aren’t supposed to have the ability to put one foot directly in front of the other before they learn the skill of walking. But, here was Wil doing it! She is a very out of the box thinker, so applauded and encouraged him. She assured me he would eventually walk, and we may as well move forward since he was already leading the way. Wil continues to do Step C before Step B in a lot of things he does, but that’s just Wil’s way. He has no pre-conceived notions that Step B has to be achieved before moving to Step C, he creates no defeating self-talk that he hasn’t reached Step B, Wil just keeps moving forward in his way at his own pace.

I watch the way Wil approaches life all the time, and it is nothing less than inspiring. It is always pure, it is always very focused and there are simply no boundaries or preconceived notions as to how it will be achieved. He is a Nike ad in action…he just does it.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kodiak My Little Grizzly
    Feb 09, 2013 @ 05:00:58

    I love it! My aunt called these little people “VIP’s” She doesn’t call them disabled, diseased, or even special needs kids. She worked with kid like this. Her daughter (my cousin) had Downs. But she also had a very very bad heart. She only lived 13 + years. She sometimes watched Kodiak for me… But always how is my “VIP” today? (Very important person) I just think its sweet. And they are fighters and have strong will power!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW is that Elmo???

    Reply

  2. Christie
    Feb 09, 2013 @ 11:56:28

    Yes, Wil is Elmo’s #1 Fan! He has been Elmo for Halloween 2 years in a row, now ๐Ÿ™‚
    You had mentioned your niece before, and the wonderful impact she made in her very short life. Your Aunt is very wise…especially considering the lack of acceptance and awareness at that time.
    Send a hug to your little grizzly from Wil and Elmo! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply

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