The very first dream I had was to become a pianist. My father found me my own piano and the best teachers I could ever have wished for.
As I grew bigger and stronger, I began to dream about becoming a football player… and a baseball player… and a hockey player… and players of all kinds of sports. My brother took me out to play with his friends.
Then, as I got more and more interested in the things I learned at school, my dream shifted to becoming a teacher / researcher. My teachers guided me through which fields of studies to choose and where to continue my education.
Maybe my father was simply wanted a musician of his own to play just for him.
Maybe my brother simply needed another person on his side to make up a team.
And maybe my teachers were simply doing their job as teachers.
Nevertheless, they provided me with the opportunity, the means, and the environment to pursue my dreams. It did not matter that I did not have what it took to realize my dreams – fine manual dexterity, high motor skills, or keen academic curiosity – all that mattered was that I was given an equal chance to follow my heart (and an equal risk of having it shattered) at level ground with all others.
Should that be any different just because someone has disabilities of some sort? Certainly not!
Maybe extra care and consideration are needed in creating opportunities.
Maybe additional supplements and supports are warranted as means.
Maybe further arrangements and amendments are demanded of the environment.
But maybe these are the piano and the spot on a team and the direction to head for those with disabilities.
Then, maybe all that should matter is whether they are able to provide an equal chance to follow hearts at level ground with all others.
Maybe the providers of opportunities and means and the environment have other intentions – maybe political rightness, technological prowess, or social activism… who knows.
But maybe, with or without disabilities, all that any dreamer asks is for their hearts to be allowed to run free.
Maybe that is what is needed the most at the heart of all dreams, so that dreams can keep growing in all hearts.
Good luck to all the Paralympians – I look forward to seeing the hearts of your dreams that know no limits!