Falling Hard & Standing Up – The Crippled Boy

What stops us from achieving our goals? We can learn from a crippled boy and understand how small goals help in achieving big dreams.

You never fail until you stop trying.

Albert Einstein

Fallen crippled boy

The boy looked at the ball longingly. He remembered playing with it. He and his brother used to play soccer, volleyball and basketball with the same ball. But that was before the accident. His legs had come between two cars. He had been standing between the cars when the driver of car in front had mistakenly reversed instead of going forward. His legs had almost been crushed.

The accident had left him bed ridden because of multiple fractures. The doctors did their best to get his bones back in shape. The casts were completely removed after almost a year. Although the doctors said the boy just needed some exercise to get back in shape, he was afraid to even stand. His father requested and urged him many times to try walking. His brother too cajoled and teased him to play in the fields. He wanted to revive the fun they had in the past. But try as much as they could, the boy found that the strength in his legs failed him. He was just a crippled boy.

A couple of months later the brother had stopped asking. The father kept motivating him every morning. “I want to see you walking when I come back,” he would say before leaving for work. The boy resigned himself to a fate of a crippled person depending on others for many things.

The crippled boy continued to stare at the ball. His brother had thrown it there since he would not play. The boy decided to pick it up. He knew that his hands were okay. As he bent down his left leg suddenly jerked up and kicked the ball. The boy could not believe it. The leg had moved. Maybe because of the bending action. Maybe some muscles had been pulled. But there was movement. He looked at the ball again. The kick had hardly moved the ball. It had moved a couple of inches. He wondered why he had not tried picking up the ball earlier.

Try & Try Again

Sitting on his wheelchair the crippled boy started imagining if he could kick the ball once again. He wheeled himself near the ball. Just one more kick he urged himself. Maybe bending makes his legs work. He would try it without bending. His legs did not move. He gripped the arms of the chair, bent a little forward and tried again. His leg jumped forward again, but almost missed the ball and the ball spun sideways. Slowly. It settled a few feet away. The boy wanted more now. He wanted to try with his right leg. He spun his wheelchair towards the ball and repeated the exercise with his right leg. It hardly moved. But he could feel his muscles trying. He tried once again. No luck again. But now he had hope. If it could be done once it could be done once again. The boy spent the whole day trying. Mom noticed her son’s activities. But did not interfere. Dad’s provocation and prodding had not resulted in so much results in a couple of months that the ball had got within a day.

Mother told dad in the evening. The father was almost in tears. Brother too was overjoyed. The crippled boy was a cripple no more.

The next morning when the boy opened his eyes he found the ball next to his wheelchair. They both were near the opposite wall. He got up by himself. Usually he would call out to mom. But today he wanted to get the ball. He thought his mom wouldn’t let him. She use to worry a lot all the time. He lowered himself onto the floor and almost fell on his face. He started to crawl towards the ball.  His realized that hands were doing most of the work and stopped.

Doing What Matters

Even if it takes him the whole day, the boy thought, he would make his legs do the work. He did not want to be a cripple boy.

It took him quite some time but he did it. He was near the ball. His mother found him that way and thought he had fallen down. She immediately helped him to the chair. He explained what he had done and tears of joy ran down her cheeks. He spent the day crawling around the house. It was excruciating and his mom was always hovering around him to make sure no accidents happened, but on his insistence left him to do what he wanted. Dad and brother were overjoyed to hear about the progress. Mom advised them not to push the boy and to let him recover at his own pace.

Success is Never Easy

Months went by and the crawling became bouts of walking and then running.

Today his soccer team won the championship. He was the captain. Everybody was in awe of his achievements. A crippled boy who had overcome all the odds to lead a soccer team to victory. Everyone saw the success. Only the family had experienced the failures and hurdles. They knew success had not come overnight. It had been hard work.