Isaac is a senior at Union College. He was born in Calcutta, India and moved to the United States when he was a year old. In his free time he enjoys being outdoors cycling and adventuring. The clock finally clicked down to double zero
and the game was over. My dad’s basketball team had just won the final game of
a long-weekend tournament in Seattle. He came over to the sidelines and took me
out on the court with him and his other teammates to celebrate and take
I was used to this
scenario. Not to brag, but dad is definitely a champion. In my mind’s eye, he’s
unstoppable. Whether on the court on weekends or on the many church boards he
was a part of, he always made a full effort and taught me the power of a good
name. He also taught me the importance of a well-knit family. Everywhere I went people knew my dad and spoke highly of him and were proud to be his friend.
The church also forms part of this support network, without which success and optimism cannot be reached. We should support all who have special needs and give them opportunities."
What I haven’t told
you is that my dad is disabled. Dad is in a wheelchair. A bullet shot in the
middle of a fire fight in Vietnam bruised his spinal cord. He has been in a
wheelchair since 1969.
Dad made every
effort to be involved in his community and didn’t let a physical disability
hinder that. This desire to be a part of the community helped my siblings and
me to never gain a negative view of disability. We learned by example.
exposure to hospitals and Dad’s wheelchair basketball league taught me a lot
about people with disabilities. Each has a unique story. They each have unique
struggles, but what I found from those who were successful was that a great
attitude and a great support network made all the difference. My parents went out
of their way to support each other in their endeavors.
I’ve learned that
the family is the go-to, the biggest part of the network. They’re there to do
what needs to be done in both the good and bad times. The church also forms part of this support network, without which success and optimism cannot be reached. We should support all who have special needs and give them opportunities. Also, we need to support the family that is supporting the person. It’s a two-faceted thing: the individual and the family need different types of support, but both are vital.
Sometimes we didn’t
always feel welcome when visiting other churches, but in reality those members
might merely not have known how to act around him. In keeping with the
attitude of the “unstoppable,” he usually brushed that off. I’ve never seen
something bother him too much. He has always been comfortable with his
abilities and the fact that he belongs to a church that gives him the support
and the opportunity to be successful.
Mom received weird
looks ever so often, and people questioning why she married my father, but I’m
not aware of any outright discrimination aimed at her. She treats Dad like he
was a normal person. Growing up, dad’s wheelchair never factored in. She made
sure we knew and respected him as the head of the family.
He’s my dad–first
and last. From support to advice, he goes out of his way to give me the best
We all face
disability in many forms every day: poverty, illiteracy, mental and physical
disabilities. Church members don’t always know how to act around people with
these challenges. Jesus’ ministry provides the greatest example of how to act
around them and why our church should care about them. He always reached out to
those with the many disabilities and looked past their disabilities and into
their character, drawing them to Him, and in turn, putting them on a path to
thought...Who is my family?