I was touched by this video posted on Facebook. Most parents take videos of their child at a school event, sports and/or music recital without a thought of it going viral, but this video is special. It was taken by a mother of an eleven-year-old boy, Matt, who has cerebral palsy. Matt was told he didn’t have to run the elementary school race, but he was determined to be like all the other kids. I imagined the heartache and worry this mother felt as she watched her son struggle, but she continued to record the race anyway. I heard her call out words of encouragement. I personally felt concerned for Matt’s health and safety and thought, this boy has good reason to quit. Then something magical happened as a caring teacher and supportive classmates urged Matt to keep going.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it, hoping I’d be like the caring teacher who turned around the apparent outcome. His encouragement not only spurred Matt on, but his example urged the students to cheer and support Matt. I want to be like the classmates who were probably tired after completing the race, but still went back to run beside him. Matt received the boost he needed to successfully complete the race. I will not soon forget the examples of Matt’s determination, the care of a teacher and the supportive classmates.
In the article Liftable it states, “In our world today there are plenty of stories of bullying and poor student behavior. That’s not the case here. What we have is a teacher who made a difference (as many often do) and classmates that went above and beyond to help a friend finish the race. A race which holds a lesson to be learned for everyone.”
As I viewed the video I noticed a difference in my own attitude. As I watched Matt receive the help and encouragement my thought of, this poor boy transformed to, with this kind of assistance and reassurance he’ll make it! In my heart, I also started cheering him on and felt his joy as he reached the finish line.
I recognized some similarities in my own race of life, where family and friends have given me confidence and raised my spirits when I needed it the most to help me reach the finish line of that particular struggle. This reminded me of a favorite poem.
When good friends walk beside us
On trails that we must keep,
Our burdens seem less heavy
And the hills are not so steep.
The weary miles pass swiftly
Taken in a joyous stride,
And all the world seems brighter
When friends walk by our side.
Have you felt the magic that happens when friends walk by your side? Have you given someone else the magic as you’ve blessed their life with love and support through their struggle? I’d love to hear about your experiences.