On Wednesday evening Ryan and I had the privilege to go and speak to the Cannon Falls football team after their practice. Ryan was asked by one of the coaches to come and share his story to the team. This isn't our first time speaking to a group of young individuals. We have been able to speak to confirmation classes and Ryan has been able to share his story to some organizations in the farming community also.
As Ryan spoke to these young individuals I watched as certain parts of his story was hitting each and everyone of them. I remember being their age and all issues that go along with being a teenage. Today with social media I think being a teenager would be even harder. I fear for our youth as they are learning more and more on how not to communicate with each other, how to hind behind Facebook and other social media outlets. How getting more likes and comments builds their confidence and how they are learning less and less to ask for help when needed. Decent role models in this world are becoming harder to find. Life is hard, as a teenager I didn't realize how hard life could actually get, even as an adult and everything that Ryan and I have gone through its still blows my mind how hard life can be. Asking for help is ok, its good! I think teens are afraid to ask for help from their parents or certain adults for fear of getting in trouble or being judged. I think teens are afraid of going outside the norm and not giving into peer pressure for fear of what their peers might say or do to them. Ryan and I tried to get the point across to these young minds that life can change in the blink of an eye and its how you handle these situations that make a difference. Even though Ryan's accident wasn't caused by being under the influence, he has met individuals who have become paralyzed because of it. We all used to think in our youth we were bullet proof and sooner or later life teaches you that you aren't. We also tried to teach them that anything is possible if you are determined and have the right attitude. Ryan hasn't come as far as he has come in his recovery because of a crappy attitude and lack of work. He was determined the whole time to continue the life he was living prior to getting hurt. This didn't come with out struggles and days of wanting to give up, but his Faith, family, friends and determined spirit got him through it.
During hard times or when we need to make certain decisions in your life who do you turn to for advice? Maybe its your faith, your parents, best friend, counselor, spouse or mentor. For me I have multiple resources, and I am blessed to say multiple! I know I can always go to any of my family and friends for advice but I have certain ones who I entrust the most. For those reading I hope you have the same. For those parents out there reading I hope you teach your children that asking for help is ok, teach your children to be comfortable talking to you about those uncomfortable conversations. It will better your child and your relationship with them. Your kids will make mistakes, and thats ok. God knows I have made them. Eventually you get to the point in a child's life when you can't make decisions for them, but you hope and pray that how you raised them will help them make the right decisions. I remember as a child my parents saying, someday when you're older you'll understand why, someday you'll agree with us when we say we are right. Guess what, THEY ARE RIGHT!
At the end of the evening we told the the kids about our upcoming trip to Canada, they seemed pretty inspired that Ryan would be bear hunting with a crossbow none the less. As we left that night I couldn't help but feel that sharing our story is part of God's plan for us. I enjoy and so does Ryan being able to talk to the youth but also adults to. I hope that God continues to open up opportunities for us to do so. Its so important to have positive people in your life, to have the core group of people you use for your support system. People that inspire you, build you up and know how to push you the way you need to be pushed to better yourself. Do you have that in your life? People will come and go in your life but the true friends, your true support system will stand by your side in every situation. I know I wouldn't be who I am today and Ryan wouldn't be who he is with out our support system.
So to the Bomber Football team, thank you again for having us out to speak to you! Good luck on your upcoming football season and remember to be an inspiration to others!!