Yes I have a disability due to traumatic brain injury as a child. Thanks to God and many prayers I only had slight right side weakness due to my brain surgeries. I could have lived my life in a corner feeling sorry for myself. However my parents didn’t raise a quitter. I was given many chances to travel to Toronto, New York state, Arizona, Florida, Seattle and across the western United States with my family.
My dad said holidays for a family should have an educational component. I was blessed to go to NASA at Cape Kennedy in Florida and write a report on the Space Program when I came back from my holiday. I saw awesome Grapefruit League Spring Training baseball. You see disability was not seen as a excuse but a challenge to overcome. So writing about what happens in space with a space shuttle and astronauts was very cool for me.
Going to see the Sons of The Pioneers as a 18 year old in Tucson Arizona was also awesome. It was witnessing a piece of history. A Country and Western group that Roy Rogers co- founded before he became a movie star. A dinner and a show and a great experience to share with my dad. We also went to Air Force Museums in Tucson and Phoenix along with Spring Training baseball games as well.
Directions have never been my thing but dad always got me to handle the map and learn how to read it to tell him where we were to next. No excuses for this disabled boy. Did I always appreciate the value of what was happening? The answer is probably no at the time. A teenager is still a teenager able bodied or disabled. Though I am grateful for the experiences that my parents afforded me. My mom and dad gave up a lot for my sister and I.
Going to Niagara Fall, Toronto for a Blue Jays baseball game were great after my dad finished a job in Northern Ontario. We also went to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown N.Y. on Hall of Fame weekend to see Johnny Bench and Carl Yastremski get inducted in July of 1989. Our family saw so many cool exhibits there. For a baseball historical junkie like myself it was an awesome experience.
During my college years I travelled to places such as Quebec Canada and Mexico City and Central Mexico for educational experiences for field education and on internship. I learned about the French and Spanish languages. Moreover their local cuisine, history, religion and architecture. How does a disabled person gain confidence to go to these places? There was always a common purpose for education and personal growth.
I know my disability is not overtly visible but it is there. Do I have a stubborn streak that says yes I can when others have discouraged me. My parents always saw the need to explore new horizons as lifelong learners in and out of the classroom. Gratitude to my mom and dad is a understatement in giving me a great life.
My suggestion to all those with a disability is pursue your interests no matter what it is. If there is a will there is a way. I don’t know your challenges only you do. Have courage and do not let anyone or anything get in the way of your dreams. Stick with positive people who will support your goals and dreams. Be appreciative of every opportunity you are given in life. Redemption and following your dreams is just a choice away. How do I know this I have fallen a few time in life and a loving God, family have been there to help me get back on the right path.
We are all travellers in this journey called life. Seek the best out of yourself and others. Challenge yourself to be the best you can be. You are worth it.