Be inspired

12 Feb

graduation caps

It’s easy to be inspired. Sometimes you can hear a news story, or a song on the radio and feel inspired. Sometimes you can hear a tale of your friend’s mother’s uncle’s best friend’s sister and feel inspired. Sometimes you can think of someone famous that has some inspirational story to share. What’s more difficult, in my opinion, is to find someone in real life to inspire you. It’s hard to look at the people you see everyday and find inspiration there. Unless they have been through something tragic, we are numb to the more “everyday” accomplishments.

I have seen people around me go through the tragic. And I have been inspired by their strength and determination to not let that event define them. And I admire them. But the person I want to tell you about today hasn’t had one tragic event. He hasn’t had a day, or a week, or a year that was difficult; that he came out of stronger, and better. He hasn’t had an instance that everyone could see how strong he was and jumped to offer their support. He has had a lifetime of quiet struggle. And he is inspiring.

When he was in elementary school, he didn’t always do well. There were some things he succeeded at, but most were pretty difficult for him. He didn’t have teachers that advocated for him and his parents weren’t educated enough about his / their rights to know what to do. He struggled.

Finally, middle school rolled around, and he was pulled out of public school and home schooled for several years. He made some improvements. He went through some testing and it was discovered that his eyes didn’t function as they should and he had symptoms much like dyslexia. When he enrolled back into public school, he was placed in the special education program.

That program was led by a wonderful teacher. For, maybe the first time, he was made to believe that he was capable. He was intelligent. He was just different. And different didn’t mean bad. He worked. He worked hard. A few years before he was set to graduate, the state in which he lived instituted a graduation qualifying exam. He would have to read, and comprehend, several passages. He would have to pass, or he wouldn’t graduate with a high school diploma.

See, it wasn’t about how hard he worked. It wasn’t about the effort he put into anything. It wasn’t even really about how much he knew. It was about whether or not he could overcome this crappy hand he had been dealt, to please someone whom he would never meet. It was about this test.

His parents and teacher began looking into waiver requirements and the options he had if he couldn’t pass this unfair test. He worked and worked. He took that test several times.

And he passed.

One of the last opportunities he had to take it, he passed. The whole family was treated to a celebratory dinner in honor of the hard work this young man had put into his education. The time, sweat, and tears he had put into passing this one, difficult test.

And that young man, inspired his big sister to major in special education in college. To be a voice for those children who need one. To stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. And to give them the power to believe in themselves.

My brother, he inspires me. He has grown, from that young man that state politicians tried to define with a test. He has become a successful man, with a good job, that takes care of his family. He has become so much more that a test could ever measure. He inspires me.

And because of him, I see inspiration every day. I see students, who will never pass that test. I see what it does to them. I see the defeat. I see the discouragement. I see the feeling of failure. I see the fear in their parents eyes; what kind of life can their child have without a high school diploma? I see it. And I hate that test. I hate that the people who mandate that students take it, will never see the inspiration. They will never see the kids who rise above, and despite the struggle, decide that no one is limiting their future. No one is telling them they can’t be successful. And no one is holding them back. I hate that test.

And I am inspired.

I would love to hear about someone who inspires you.


One Response to “Be inspired”

  1. faithsmomma February 12, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    Whoo hoo! Love this one!

    I am also inspired by a couple of men who have overcome similar obstacles!

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