On Wednesday 30th April 2008, I was invited to a sport meet which was being hosted by the Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy at the National Stadium. The little crowd of spectators and participant that gather there were a testament of dedication.
The teachers, family members and friends of the students and friends of the academy all represented a strong symbol of love and dedication to the children all of whom suffer from a form of mental and physical disability or impairment of some kind.
Some of the children are unable to do anything for themselves and are thus totally reliant on their parents to do everything for them, activities which ranges from feeding to cleaning their children. I cannot say for sure but, I can imagine that these relationships can be stressful on all of the parties involved.
But what struck and touched me most, was the level of love and commitment these parents show to their children and the level of pride that was displayed not when their children won an event (because it was not about winning or losing) but when they displayed an effort to accomplish the given event. If I was to make a judgment based on the pride I saw in the eyes of the fathers, the mothers, the well-wishers and the staff of the Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy for the student’s efforts, I would have thought that these were normal children. But such is the results of love. This was a perfect representation of the saying love knows no boundary.
I always thought that I was/am a good father, but to see these parents in action, through the complexity of the challenges they face with daily. These and the way they care for their children made me rethink my position of being a good father. Anyone can be a mother or a father to a normaland or healthy child but it takes a special renovation in character to be a dedicated parent to one of these child/children. I guess that is Why God is God and need no help being God. He entrusted these children to parents with such impeccable character that it matters not the limitation of the children, they are assured that they will be loved as if he or she had no limitation.
I tip my hat to you all, the parents, friends, and relatives of the students and the staff of the Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy, you have put me to shame, you all have thought me some new and vital lessons of life, but most of all you have shown me the new level to which I must attain.
I must say I had fun at the sports meet, I cheered, I competed (yes I was beaten by some of the kids) and I helped in what ever way I could. But what I would have really liked to have done was to enter the hearts and mind of the parents. I do not have any heroes but my experience at that sport meet has given me some. My heroes are the men and women who parent these children, Why; because they show joy in the middle of their difficulty, they show courage even when they should have been broken, and most of all they stand up and take on the type of responsibility that most people will run away from.