She leaned up to the table with determination and pushed even more weight against the little airplane.
Her thumb pressed hard on the red button of the Halloween toy, but the propellor still didn’t move.
“I can’t… do it,” she murmured, concentrating.
Her brother slid the plane in his direction.
“You can do it, Brenna,” he said. “Here. I’ll help you.”
Connor lightly placed his forefinger on top of the red button.
“Now push down,” he instructed her.
Brenna pushed Connor’s finger, and Connor pushed the red button, and the airplane propellor jumped to life, spinning around and around to Brenna’s great delight.
A few days later, Brenna had practiced enough to figure out how to get that airplane propellor moving without any assistance.
“I did it myself!” she exclaimed, holding it tightly with her thumb pressed on that red button.
The weakness in Brenna’s fingers, caused by her arthritis in her hands and feet, is occasionally a little limiting. But Connor didn’t take over for her. He didn’t make the propellor move himself and shield her from the challenge. He didn’t tell her she wasn’t strong enough.
He simply modified the activity so that she could accomplish what she wanted to, and in effect, gave her the confidence to keep trying. Sometimes, all it takes is one person saying “you can do it” when you think you can’t.
Sometimes, all we need is one little boost from another person – not doing it FOR us, but doing it WITH us – to achieve what we set out to do.
Perhaps the best kind of hero doesn’t arrive on the scene to take over the plane….but instead, shows us that we can fly all by ourselves.
Subscribe to my email list to download a list of our favorite children’s books about differences and disabilities!