What Can Those with Special Needs Teach Us?

By Tyler C.

My younger sister means the world to me. She has cerebral palsy. She was born with this disease and has grown up with it. It gives her struggles on a daily basis. There is no cure. She has had so many difficulties in this life, yet she shows so much courage through it all and has overcome many challenges that an average person would not have been able to do. She is my hero.

When we were first growing up I actually didn’t get along with my sister very well. It didn’t register with me why she couldn’t understand certain things or why, as a family, we couldn’t do some things because she was with us. I never could get my mind wrapped around the situation. I was missing out on opportunities that other families had because of my sister! It wasn’t fair!

One night, I thought of what it would be like to not have my sister. Things started off kind of nice. We were able to do more things as a family that otherwise we could not do! It really was great! Then I realized that my sister wasn’t going to be there with us. The idea was very bitter for me–not sweet like I had imagined. I found myself sitting on my bed, crying and missing my sister as I thought of family trips without her. Then I realized how much I did love my sister. I thought to myself, “Just think of what I have learned from my sister because of those experiences I have had with her? So how much do I truly love her?” I realized that I loved her a lot!

We always laugh and play around with each other. Through our experiences of growing up together and watching all of the things my sister was going through, I had learned how to be patient, kind, and humble with those around me. I learned how to love people for who they really are instead of focusing on what they lack. Without my sister, I would not have been able to learn these valuable lessons. Without her, life would have been very different. I came to realized that I would have been a spoiled punk without my little sister! From this realization, I decided to change my attitude and try to bless my sister with things that she wanted or needed. I wanted to be that person that my sister looked towards for comfort and help.

During this night of tears I learned the importance that my sister has played in my life. It’s interesting to see the contrast between my thoughts before and after this “vision.” Before, I was self-centered, prideful, impatient, and after, I was more loving toward her and realized how she had helped me be better. I knew that I needed to change and, therefore, made that change.

I have come to realize that I was given my sister for a specific reason! Sure, it was painful at times and I felt like I was dealing with a burden, but when I forget about myself by putting myself in her shoes, I realized that, if I were her, I would need somebody to treat me well–even to pamper me. I knew with trial and error (and I can’t claim to be perfect), I have been shaped and formed in a way that has helped me cope and even excel because of having a sister who has special needs. I will be eternally grateful for this.

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