Oscar Pistorius

I am a huge fan of the Olympics. Although I thoroughly enjoy the competitive aspect of this world extravaganza, I sometimes think my favorite part is hearing the back stories of how individual athletes persevered to “make it” to this point. Hands down, the most amazing story of this Olympics is that of Oscar Pistorius, the South African runner who participated in the 400-meter sprint and the 4×400-meter relay. Pistorius didn’t win any medals, but he did finish his races. Why is this so impressive? Pistorius, also known as “The Blade Runner,” was the first double amputee to participate in the Olympics. How does a young man even dream of doing such a thing? After reviewing several renditions of Oscar’s story, I believe a key to his success lies in the fact that even though he grew up without legs from the knees down, his mother supported him by treating Oscar as she would any other child. She expected him to be “normal.” Instead of coddling him or making excuses for why he couldn’t do activities, she allowed him to believe that anything was possible.

We all need people in our lives who believe in us and encourage us to live into our dreams. Children, in particular benefit greatly from positive support. Carlyle Marney coined the phrase “balcony people” to describe those folks who cheer us on to do and be our best regardless of our circumstances. Who are your “balcony people?” Can you be that kind of encourager for someone else? I hope so!

by Ann Ashcraft