Don’t Focus On What You Can’t Do Focus On What You Can
Don't Focus On What You Can't Do Focus On What You Can
SNIPPET #67 – FREEDOM FRIDAY
Doctors told his parents to prepare for their newborn’s death. Their newborn son had been born with so many broken bones, it was easier to count the unbroken ones. He would never survive, they said.
Luckily, Sean had no idea he was supposed to die, and his parents had no intention of giving up on their baby.
Today, all of those doctors who pronounced a death sentence upon that little bundle of life are dead, and Dr. Sean Stephenson is very much alive.
Sean knows it is his parents’ love for him that carried him through dangerous years. “Their greatest gift to me,” he says, “was refusing to lose faith in my survival.”
Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or Brittle Bone Disease, is a daunting, painful condition. This genetic disorder leaves bones vulnerable to breaking with little to no provocation. For Sean, the natural act of being born was enough to crush most of his bones. For years afterward, it was his parents who encouraged him to think beyond his disabilities and focus on his abilities instead. When disappointment sank its claws into him, his parents would be right there reminding him there is more than one way to realize a dream.
“Sean,” his father told him, “you’re not going to be on the basketball team but if you work hard enough one day you can own a basketball team.”
Sean learned to assume control of his own response to the life he’s been given. He embraced pain and let it become his teacher, “…and I was a good little student,” Sean Stephenson says.
When a broken bone left him rooted to the very spot of the injury for weeks at a time, Sean taught himself meditation and visualization. When he missed weeks of class, he witnessed the impact of dedicated teachers donating their own time, to come to his home and sit beside him on the floor, as they caught him up on his lessons.
When he meets someone who pities him, or flinches or even expresses disgust at him, he turns the sting of their reaction into a boomerang packed with forgiveness and education.
And as for those who have less kind reactions than pity, Sean accepts the role of their educator. He views these occasions as a responsibility to put his best self forward, helping people enjoy the experience of meeting him, and dispel the misperceptions often bred from ignorance.
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