Defying Labels – You Can Overcome!
Labels are all around us. We place them on everything, sometimes not even being aware of it ourselves. It’s okay. Labeling is a natural process we use to organize thoughts in the great filing cabinet of our mind. What we need to realize while we are doing this, however, is that the labels we place are fluid; not permanent.
I have a son who is special needs. He’s not mentally handicapped. He’s differently-abled.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those politically correct people who is easily offended. I tell it like it is. For example, I’m fat. That’s where I am at right now. I’m not big boned, or husky. Just simply fat.
But my son is just different much like the peers in his class.
When he first began school, he was given an IQ test that placed a label on his life. This label landed him in special needs education classes, and caused everyone around him to look at him different.
We actually had someone in a leadership position point his IQ score out to us, and tell us, “This is all we expect of him!”
Doctors told us he would never walk or talk.
I now have a 9 year old child who is running, playing, and holding conversations as any other child his age.
Mind you, he is still in special needs classes because he is still behind on an academical level. But looking back to when he first began school, he only had a few select words in his vocabulary. He couldn’t read or write. He had a walker because without it, he would just fall over.
Our most recent IEP meeting told us that he can now almost read on par with peers in general education classes. He is two years behind in math, but with him always being two years behind, that tells us that he is not getting further away, but steady growing. They cancelled his physical therapy telling us it was no longer necessary.
We went through a short scare with labels for a while. Our doctor and school counselors were pushing us to get him tested to see if he was on the autism spectrum. We have nothing against those that are on the spectrum. They can grow up to achieve many things in their lives. We, however, were not prepared to accept that label. After much back and forth, we finally saw a specialist who concluded that he is just extremely ADHD. This is something we were able to live with because it can be grown out of.
Why is it that my child is able to push beyond the expectations that doctors and authorities have set? Because we haven’t accepted labels as a finish line. We challenge our child on a daily to grow, to mature, to excel.
Some days, we do get discouraged, like when he spends hours meowing just because he wants to, and we would like to shove bricks in our ears. But we keep pushing.
Labels are just a stepping stone. They tell you where you are at this very moment in time. We aren’t expected to stay there.
The Bible tells us that we are to go from glory to glory, or mountain top to mountain top.
We can’t get to a higher height without crossing the valley, and climbing again. It’s challenging. It’s hard. But it’s life.
Your label does not define who you are right now. Stupid, fat, untalented, unpopular, unloved, ugly, worthless. These are not you. You and God work together to define who you are.
If you want to obtain a talent, try every day. Practice. Push. You may not become the next big star, but then again, you might. Even if you don’t those, how does that saying go? Shoot for the moon. If you miss, at least you’ll be among the stars.
Whenever you try, you begin to succeed. Some succeed faster than others, but the success comes a little more with every failure.
Personally, I’m working on defying a few labels myself.
Fat: I’ve been on a weight loss journey for a few months now with the right diet and a more active life. I’ve noticed that I have the energy to do more than I used to. I walk a mile each time I record a video for quiet time. I’ve begun playing short games of tennis with my son. I jump rope every day.
Unartistic: My release is in my Selah in Heaven comic strip. I’m aware that the art sucks. That being said, I started drawing stick figures, then I went to little sprites, and now I’m beginning to draw full featured characters with emotion. This happened because I continue to draw, and try harder each time. I’m not the best, but I’m better than I was.
Untalented: I bought a guitar. They hurt. If you’ve never played on one, the practice is grueling. My fingers go numb, they are sore for days. But since I’ve begun, I can now keep rhythm on basic songs enough to play in a small band or enjoy a few songs with my kids at home.
So the question is, what labels are being placed on your life? Have they been put there by you, your parents, your peers?
What are you going to do to overcome them?
Don’t let your labels hold you back from bigger and better things.
I believe in you. You will succeed if you only try.
There’s a quote that says the only way to truly fail is to give up.