So many of you know I love fitness! I love working out and love inspiring others to move! I enjoy writing blogs, coaching others and giving up my time to encourage you to go beyond your own personal limits. I do it because this is my passion, my one true love!
Most of you probably have no clue what my day job is like. A lot of you know I am teacher and a lot of you know that I coach Lacrosse. You know that I devote my hours at school helping children play sports and learn about fitness. But many of you don’t know what I really do. Many of you think I teach Physical Education. This is in fact a true statement. But most of you don’t know my true title is Adapted Physical Education Specialist. What does that mean?
Adaptive Physical Education (APE) is an adapted, or modified, physical education program designed to meet the individualized gross motor needs, or other disability-related challenges, of an identified student. The program can be provided one-on-one, in a small group, or within the general physical education setting. I work with mental, physical and emotional disabilities every single day.
Why am I telling you this in my fitness blog? To wake you up! Really, wake you up. I have challenges every single day in my job. Some of my students can’t speak, others can’t move and some act out by hitting me or spitting in my face. Those things I can handle and have handle for the past 7 years. However, I was faced with the biggest challenge of my life as a teacher today. I had to help a student understand that she in fact is different then the other kids in her class…. And it broke my heart.
This child is amazing! She lights up the room when she comes in to her PE class. This child is young, maybe 6 and is wheelchair bound. She has slight movement in the legs and is able to walk a few inches with support from an adult. She will never be able to walk alone due to her physical disability and today I think it was the first time she realized it.
In school we are working on jump rope for heart. The children were shown a video about how to keep the heart healthy and why movement is so important. My student told me first thing she was ready to make her heart healthy and was excited to be in class. How could that not make me smile! But soon those smiles turned to tears, big tears.
I was teaching her how to swing the jump rope over her head and wheel over the rope. This was the way we modified her jump roping skills, since she is unable to jump. She started to refuse to work and threw the jump rope down. This surprised me since she was so happy to be in class. I asked her what was wrong. This is when the tears started to fall and my heart started to break.
She didn’t understand why she couldn’t jump rope like her friends. She told me she didn’t want to be different and that she wanted to be like everyone else. I explained to her that she was special and she got to learn a cool new way to jump and I told her all the other kids had to be jealous that she could do it in a chair. But that didn’t help her; it made the tears fall faster. She kept saying but I want to jump like them, I don’t want to be different. I continued to calm her down, hugging her and letting her know that she probably was the coolest little girl I knew. That helped a little. She told me that she would try harder next week and that she loved me.
I am telling you this story because after I left class I became upset. I cried for a good 15 minutes because this child who wants so badly to jump and run will never be able to. I wasn’t upset because this little girl finally realized that she will never be like the other kids. I was upset because so many people in this world sit and do nothing.
So many of you sit and make excuse of why you don’t move. You feel sorry for yourself and feel like you can’t do it because it is so hard. That is CRAP. You can move. You have the ability to get out of bed every morning and use your legs. You have a heart that works and a mind that functions. You don’t have an excuse. God gave you two healthy legs and most of you refuse to use them. You refuse to do what this little girl dreams about. She would take your legs for one minute if she could jump rope, I am sure of that.
So maybe all of you are tired of hearing me go on and on about fitness. You may say to yourself, why is she always shoving this down our throats and can’t she just keep her facebook post about her own life. I could but I can’t stop thinking about my students the one who want to be like you and me, the one’s who have an excuse but wish they didn’t.
My students are special in so many ways! They have the most loving hearts and the most amazing hugs. I feel like I am around living angels when I am near all of them. They bless me with so much happiness and joy. But they also make me angry at the world and angry at people who make excuses. Wake up America! REALLY wake up. Think of those who are less fortunate, think of them as you sit on your couch and continue to make excuses. I know for a fact that they would do anything to be in your shoes, so stop wasting what you have. Do something!