In comparison to other communities, the limb-different society is still a very new, developing place to be a part of. With its outstanding members overcoming incredible tasks, there are many stories of inspiration being discovered and shared every day.
The summer time is that of a peak time for limb-difference. Camps and gatherings of all sorts come together for members to open up and meet new people of all ages just like them. It’s a powerful time. Many discover similar stories. Some of birth defects, some of tragic tales, but gripping all the same.
It’s no secret that many a non-limb-different parent find hope and fortitude in these stories of success for their young ones facing similar trials and tribulations. Not only can the children end up idolising these limb-different characters, but the parents also find a relatable and reliable quality in these figures, developing a relationship of their own with them, too.
Many of us in the limb-different community who meet youngsters with our same conditions didn’t really have a figure of our own to look up to when we were growing up. We didn’t have a path to follow or have advice to adapt and tackle situations or challenges. That’s something we either had to struggle with on our own or go through the same head-scratchers with our parents.
Now, with the new age of social media, so many young leaders in this society are easily accessible. An answer; a lesson; an idol is a mere click away. We discuss our attitudes, outlooks and people cling on to it and love the positivity.
But while we share our stories, becoming a role model isn’t often something we have planned and when one becomes that to a young member who happens to have social media, they can see virtually everything you allow them to. Your daily routines, your attitude, both formal and informal language as well as lifestyle are all on display. It can be a tricky task to manage.
As aforementioned, it isn’t something many of us were brought up knowing about or have to latch onto. Personally, I didn’t grow up knowing someone in a similar situation to me and didn’t meet anyone or any families with children like me until I was twenty-one-years-old on the other side of the world, so gauging how to be the best possible role model can be tricky.
It can sound like an ego trip, but all of a sudden you have a responsibility. You have an obligation to present yourself in the best possible way to be somebody worth relying on for advice, direction and assistance.
The children – and occasionally – the parents can look at you to have all the answers, when more often than not you simply don’t. Each day is a new day with new challenges for us all and we’re taking it step by step, admittedly winging it with whatever comes our way.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s an incredible position to be in. To build a relationship with a family elsewhere in the world over a limb-difference is a terrific factor that I hold so close to me. I never expected to be in a position capable of that. I don’t think many of us did, but we’re thankful for the honour.