It is axiomatic that many of history’s greatest achievers came from humble beginnings and unexpected origins.
As William Shakespeare so eloquently explained in Twelfth night, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
Those who achieve greatness rarely do so without first having to meet and defeat massive challenges, obstacles and resistance.
Most also experienced failure (often repeated) before greatness was assigned to them.
Greatness does not necessarily mean great wealth, business success, or fame. It does however, imply great effort coupled with irrepressible determination and unyielding commitment to persist, often against seemingly impossible odds until results are achieved and goals are met.
The pathway to greatness has broken the spirit of many and so greatness is as much the result of courage as it is of continued effort.
We, the public, have recently been introduced to greatness in the making in the form of a young man whose life was forever changed in the blink of an eye.
On April 16th, a bus transporting a team of young hockey players, the Humboldt Broncos, was involved in an accident of near -indescribable horror in rural Saskatchewan, Canada.
Sixteen lives were lost, thirteen were seriously injured and a few, while fortunate enough to have survived without physical injury, will face a lifetime of tormented dreams and anguished memories.
Ryan Straschnitzki, one of the survivors, is showing us all what greatness in the making. His courage in the face of adversity is what greatness looks like.
The accident paralyzed him. All media reports have suggested that his condition is permanent, and he will never walk again.
This young man, barely old enough to drive, not old enough to vote, must deal with the loss of many friends, while supporting others close to him who are also dealing with horrific injuries.
He has done so with the dignity and poise befitting a person many years his senior.
In every glimpse the public has had of him, Ryan has never once shown even a semblance of self-pity, not that anyone could possibly point a finger of criticism if he had.
He has spoken of his complete acceptance of the challenge, his determination to prove wrong those who have said he won’t walk again, has been never-ending in his talk of support for and the love of his friends, and has been gracious in his gratitude to the many who have offered help and support.
His determination to succeed and his seemingly endless enthusiasm mark him as an inspiration for all and a person whose future will be filled with example after example of what exemplary leadership looks like.
I believe he is destined to be a great teacher and role model, and we can all learn from his example.
Till we read again.