The PR agency I work with had the old TV running up front and the guy on Headline News said something to the effect that Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps were inspirations. So we got into a discussion about this and I rolled my eyes. Because I’m not into the Olympics, I got the attitude back with the question, “Well, who inspires you?”
Well, there was a time where this might have…an amazing athletic achievement, but that’s kids stuff now, this point in my life.
But let me just qualify that I don’t think doing everything possible for your autistic or special needs kid is necessarily inspiring. Why? Because wouldn’t you be doing everything you possibly could if the kid wasn’t? Aren’t you doing everything possible that you can for your ‘neuro-typical’ kid, too/also? This is just good parenting, under unique circumstances – though some of the stories I’ve heard and read are inspiring, but I don’t generalize this.
Here is a short list who is inspiring to me:
• I blogged a few weeks ago about a blind woman out jogging with a helper. She had a big old band-aid on her knee. She probably wipes out a lot. It isn’t inspiring that she is out trying to live a normal life or do something she likes while being blind. It is inspiring that she likes to run, knows the risks, probably falls a lot or runs into things, and just keeps on going. I bet she’s got bumps, scratches and bruises all over. But she keeps on doing what she likes and takes the risks and works through the consequences. That’s inspiring, but we all should be approaching life that way?
• Teachers pretty much inspire me. Why? Well, my sister and sister-in-law both are teachers, and they don’t make diddly compared to what I make being a corporate guy. But they have more passion for what they do in their pinkies than I have in my whole body. Whenever I turn into ‘corporate cold executive’, I try to remember how much they want their kids in class to succeed, and how they plug away really hard working in a job that is a labor of love. It helps dull my sharp cynicism about working for the man.
• Millionaires working to make the world different doesn’t inspire me, but people who really have to pay a mortgage and put a kid through school, but step away from the grind to do something bigger than themselves, inspires me.
• I’m not pro-war and I fundamentally believe we are in Iraq irresponsibly and can’t seem to find a way out. The war machine that is our military industrial complex scares me. But when 18 year old boys sign up to defend our country, and every day he has to worry about snipers and roadside bombs, when he could have his life taken away or physically or mentally altered before they understand what life is about…well, these kids inspire me. They grapple with fears and longings I will never, nor want, to know nor understand. I worry about bad traffic driving from Alpharetta to Buckhead. They worry if they will see the end of the day, each day, and they believe they are doing what is best for you, me and this country. I am not inspired by the old men that sit in a room and Washington and postulate and try to justify this war.
• I’m going to turn 40 years old next year. But I’m still fool headed enough to think I know a lot about what I don’t, and pop off way too much (really Jerry – you like to talk and speak your mind – hmmm, we couldn’t tell from your DAILY BLOGGING). But only recently I’ve started asking myself, “how would my Dad react?” in both personal and professional situations. I’m lucky to have a role model as a father like him. I have a hot head, and he doesn’t, but I do my best to try be as steady a source in my family’s life as he’s been in mine. (Mom is great too – but I can’t be a Mom, I can only try to be a great Dad…but Nonni Cheryl is still like a warm, favorite blanket when I get a hug from her – Mom is always a safe place for children…whether they are six-years-old or 39-years-old). I’m stopping there so they don’t get the big head, and use this against me next we argue.
• We have a friend with ALS. She’s still all spunk, and I’m still tickled to be around her and she’s a fighter. Her Herculean efforts to be a great Mom and wife with what she’s up against makes me just try a bit harder with Demetrius on his bad days…or mine. When she reads this she’ll tell me I’m full of it and to move on. Thus, why I love hanging out with her.
• Lets throw her husband in the mix and make this a twosome. He’s up against a lot with two kids. AND – his margaritas are inspiring in a whole different way. And he’s a Jets fan. That’s inspiring, because it just proves that there are people that are blindly loyal, which I could never be.
Not one of these people is the fastest in the world, or the greatest swimmer in a pool or gives a great speech (though Dad has been known to give long winded lectures), but they inspire me.