One of the most important things we learn early in life is that we are far from perfect. Ideally we want to do our best in everything we attempt and we always want to complete what we start. This is understandable but we also must realize that the most important thing we need to keep in mind is that as long as we try our best and we learn from the experience whether we are successful or not in our attempt is that we can learn and grow from knowing we gave it our best shot and we then will become better for it. We don’t always have to come in first place to feel good about ourselves. Sure it is wonderful if we can but that for the most part is out of reach. Therefore we have to be realistic in what we can and can not do. We also have to develop and grow to become our best. I always found it more emotional seeing the last marathoner cross the finish line than the first because you feel so happy that the last place finisher found the strength and courage to continue throughout and complete the race with no cheers and no limelight. That to me is a winner because they battled themselves and they won by completing the race.
I have always felt good when I know I tried my best and I was successful in my effort. It is frustrating when you try your best and find out that it’s not good enough. That is when you have to find the courage to battle until you experience success. It may not happen overnight but if you find the courage and determination to keep at it and you keep trying until you get it right then you have proven yourself and can say you gave it your all. That is the most important lesson you learn when you have the attitude of never giving up.
It is easy to walk away from something you started if you are having difficulty. It is not encouraged to easily give up. In fact that is considered weakness and we all know that we want to have good traits which shape us as individuals. If we want to achieve things in our life then we know we have to keep trying until we get it right. We also have to realize our own strengths and weaknesses and be able to judge what we can and can not do. Sure we all would love to compete at world class level but the reality is that we are probably not world class level. By acknowledging this doesn’t mean we are giving up. It just means we are being realistic.
I have had conversations with my parents on what success is and I also have conversations with my son about establishing goals and working towards achieving them. I want my son to know that he is no different from anyone else. He should never feel less able to achieve than his peers because of his autism. In fact most autistic children who have Asperger’s are brilliant and do become quite successful in their lives. They just need direction, guidance, nurturing and a lot of encouragement.
The hardest part in trying to help an autistic child is encouraging them to find things of interest that allows them to participate with others and benefit from competitive interaction. I would like to help my son develop fundamentals in sports like soccer, baseball and bowling but I need to take a step back and let my son decide what he wants to participate in with no pressure. If sports is not the area of interest that is ok but I would want my son to find something that will help him develop as a person and to make friends and learn healthy competition.
The most important thing I told my son is that he should find something he likes and once he does he should try his best at it. I also told him that he should never get discouraged and if he has difficulty initially that is ok and if he can learn from it so he can improve and do better on his next attempt that is all he can ask for. We all have to learn by trying and once we find what we like then we should try our best and we should have that same attitude in everything we try. That “can do” attitude should translate in every part of our life.
I want most of all for my son the feeling that he can do anything he wishes in his life and that he should never feel limited in any way. He should realize that no one is perfect but that if we try our best and we don’t give up then we will have an easier time in achieving the things in life we strive for.
To me life is so much more rewarding when you share it with the ones you love. I may not be perfect but to me my life is so much more happier and so much more meaningful. My life is all about my wife and son. They are what make me happy and smile and that to me is what it’s all about.
Edward D. Iannielli III