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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

soldier of love

brad cohen with a student at camp twitch and shout

"When we're educating the kids about Tourette's I would tell them 'there is one thing in this classroom we will never, ever do,'" Cohen said in a serious voice "... we will never play hide and seek, because every time I go and hide, I start making my noises and they find me."

so sue me- i recorded a hallmark movie on saturday night and watched in on sunday afternoon. i cried like a baby, but most of them were tears of happiness . the film was a hallmark presentation called "front of the class" which depicts the story of brad cohen. brad grew up in small town america and when he was 6 developed tourette's syndrome. not the kind that caused him to sputter profanities, but he did have constant tics and sputter incoherent noises randomly that surged when he was stressed. being ridiculed and outcast consistently because of this condition only exacerbated it and his early life seemed a continuous spiral of stress and ridicule until a high school principal intervened with his public school life and publicly demonstrated empathy, compassion, and respect for him. this changed his world.

despite brad's challenges, and probably because of his difficulties, he has become a nationally recognized motivational speaker and a teacher who imparts his self discovered personal strength and warrior spirit to elementary students in the state of georgia. he shares his story with many students and adults and imparts his appreciation of struggle and the magic of determination. and he recognizes his illness, which remains basically untreatable, as his most significant teacher and constant companion in his life.

of course, one can't help finding the correlation between brad's story and having an addiction or even having hiv. they remain a part of us as long as we live. they need to be respected and worked with if life is to maintain a peaceful quality. but somehow, with all my own personal struggles, i don't believe that i can even begin to understand the hardships and the self-judgement that this amazing survivor has endured and tamed. his has become a story that will remain one of my most influental teachers for the remainder of my days. he demonstrates a strength of character and tenacity that i admire and would someday like channel..

today's sound choice is new sade with soldier of love

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Java said...

I would love to see that movie. Do you know that my oldest son, the one I call Twitch, has Tourette's? That's why I call him Twitch, of course. He has a few verbal tics, but most of his tics involve his hands and arms. It isn't an extreme case, thankfully, but of course he gets some grief about it from his peers. He has learned to handle himself very well, all things considered.

Sheria said...

I watched the same movie and I cried too! It made me think of all of the issues that we deal with when we are perceived as different, as an outsider but it also made me recognize that we can overcome obstacles.

I also love the new release by Sade. It's a great song.

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