This I Believe

Liam - Erdenheim, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 28, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work

Perseverance: The Key to Success

I believe that through perseverance, one’s goals can be achieved, but only if you believe in yourself and work hard. When my cousin was born, they knew within the first few months that there was something different about him. Due to his lack of response to verbal prompting the first assumption was that he was deaf. Before they even tried to guess what was “wrong” with him, my aunt and uncle knew that life would not be easy and their lives would never be the same. They knew that he would require much more time and attention then other children. Within a few years they had diagnosed Brendan as an autistic child with other mental retardation handicaps. The general consensus was that Brendan would not gain the ability to talk or perform the simplest of tasks.

By the time Brendan was about 7 or 8 he had learned a few sign language symbols for simple communication, such as the sign for “more” when he was still hungry. Obviously, this was progress, but I could see in my aunt and uncle that Brendan’s needs were taking a toll on them. As of now, Brendan can tell you lots of people’s names, including my entire family and many of his teachers, and other people he is familiar with.

He is an athletic 12-year-old boy, though he will never be able to participate in sports with other children, like his brothers do, and his mother and father did. His father was an All-American lacrosse player at Yale and his mother was the captain of the basketball team at Yale. Brendan recently participated in the Special Olympics, and he is capable of stringing together a few sentences as well. Through the effort of his parents, his teachers, and his own perseverance, Brendan is still capable of living a full life. The bags under my aunt’s eyes that had plagued her while Brendan was still a young boy had been lifted from her face. I believe that if one works hard enough they will achieve what they need. Brendan always wanted to play sports; he has improved himself and now is able to compete with others, due to his effort and his parent’s belief in him. Brendan’s life is testament to working hard to achieve a goal. I believe in perseverance and hard work.