In reference to the Mountains Beyond Mountains post from yesterday, as a father of a child with multiple challenges, I have experienced first hand the incredible frustrations and the debilitating definitions placed on any of us who struggle with some aspect of our learning, development or functioning, often by those around and even closest to us. Aimee Mullins presents an incredible story of how she turned her mountains into opportunities.
Aimee suggests that we are "changed" and "marked" by a challenge. She sees adversity not as an obstacle to get around; but part of our life. The question isn't whether we will face adversity in our lives, but how. Our job as parents and teachers isn't to shield our children from adversity, it is rather to prepare them to deal with it well. Instead of trying to "overcome" adversity, Aimee suggests our goal should be to see adversity as natural, consistent, and useful.
Conflict is the genesis of creation. It is not the strongest or the most intelligent of a species that survive; it's the most adaptable. I enjoyed her reference to Darwin.
Our society often struggles with "disability" and "difference." I was reminded of how careful we as teachers especially must be not to limit or cap a child's potential. Our job is to unlock, inspire and lead out. Aimee's story is a powerful one.