I believe all people are created in the image of God and because of this, every human being has the potential to become successful. It is up to each of us to decide whether we will strive to reach our potential or whether we will be satisfied with mediocrity.
It is important that I define what I mean by the word success, because this word is often defined in external ways (wealth, fame, honors, accomplishments, etc.). These are great, but I do not believe they mean someone is a success.
I prefer John Wooden’s definition. “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
In other words, success is determined by individuals, not society!
Striving to become the best person I am capable of being, means that I strive to reach my potential in every area of my life.
Growing up, I was never told by my parents that I could not accomplish something. In fact, my brothers and I were pushed to strive for our best…to reach our potential academically, athletically, spiritually, and in anything we dared to attempt. Unfortunately, if I’m honest with myself, I know there were many times I did the bare minimum required. I am glad that my parents taught me to strive for my best and always wanted to see me reach my potential as I grew. Without that encouragement from them, I may not have accomplished, or even attempted, many of the things I have done in my life.
Now, as a father myself, I am trying to help my son reach his potential so he can be a success. Often when society (education system, churches, and family members) looks at my son, they see a young man defined by his disabilities.
Some see his blindness.
Some see his hearing impairment.
Some see his poor social skills and think he needs more discipline (this could be an entire post in itself).
He is NOT defined by any of these and he should not be underestimated because of them. My goal is to help him learn to minimize his weaknesses while maximizing his strengths.
Over the years, when people hear about his special needs some have told my wife and I to… “just love him and keep him happy.” While this is said with good intentions, it frustrates me, because I do not believe these same people would say this to the parent of a neurotypical child.
Every parent wants his/her child to be loved, happy, and become their best!
Just because we are the parents of a child with special needs does NOT mean we want less for our son!
We do love him and want him to be happy, we also want him to become the best man he can become. To do this, we must push him out of his comfort zone and help him adjust to new and difficult situations. We have loved seeing him accomplish things we were told he would never do by “experts”. We love how proud he is of himself when he accomplishes something for the first time or something that he has struggled with for a long time. These accomplishments help him strive to do more. The more he does, the closer to reaching his potential he is.
When he reaches his potential, he will be a success! And, I believe he will make a positive impact on the world!