I love to watch “American Idol” on television. On a recent episode there were two inspiring stories. The first was the story of a teenage girl with bipolar disorder. She stated she was diagnosed in fourth grade. When she would have extremely manic episodes her mother would sing with her. Music became her saving grace. She found peace and solace in singing. She had a beautiful singing voice. The teenager and her mother were in tears speaking about her difficulties with this disorder and how at one point she wanted to give up, but her mother would get her to sing and things would get better. She is now fulfilling her dream of singing on American Idol and, YES, she made it to the next round and is going to Hollywood.
Another contestant on the same show was a young man who was born without ears. According to his father, they were told he would never hear nor speak. Through many surgeries and the grace of God this young man was also living his dream of competing on “American Idol”. He also had a beautiful voice as well and made it through to the next round. He never gave up on his dream and his family supported him and convinced him he could accomplish whatever goal he set in life.
I had someone tell me recently about reading a story of a young lady whose arms were amputated. She learned to fly a plane with her feet. Wow, can you even imagine? She had a dream and wouldn’t let go or give up despite what others may have said.
My son with spina bifida has always loved planes. He would always want to know what every screw on the airplane was for. When he was younger, he collected the little sets of wings the flight attendants give out. He read books on airplanes and liked to play flight simulator video games. It became a passion.
At the fly-in at the LaFayette Airport last fall he went up for a flight in a small four-seater plane. Afterwards we spoke to the owner of the plane who operates a flight school in Hixson, Tenn. We decided it was time to let him spread his wings, literally. He started taking flying lessons last fall and is loving it. He’s doing something he’s always wanted to do. Some people would look at him and say, “How can he fly a plane, he’s in a wheelchair?” I say to those people, “because he never gives up.” That was his dream and he’s living it.
You may not ever fly a plane, record a song or do anything that is special or outstanding in the eyes of the world. That doesn’t mean you can’t fulfill your goals. Be realistic; don’t lose your enthusiasm no matter what others may say. Find your passion. Find a way to make it happen and don’t be afraid to ask others for help.
Pam Rasmussen is a resident of LaFayette. She is a mother of a child with spina bifida and an advocate of special needs children and adults. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.