We all question our purpose at one point or another. But how do you define purpose? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word to mean the aim or goal of a person: what a person is trying to do, become. What does this mean practically?
Do I have a good job?
Am I successful?
Do I help others?
Am I a good mother, wife, friend?
If I answer yes to these questions, then my life has purpose. Or, does it? Do these answers determine my quality of life, define who I am or my value to society? More than a decade ago, I may have answered yes. But, now I have a different perspective. My definition has changed. My purpose, my value added reason for being is to bring love and joy to others.
What if I couldn’t walk or talk?
Needed help to dress?
What if I weren’t able to do the daily tasks of life?
Would I still have purpose? It might be easy to say, not much.
My son can’t walk or talk. He needs help dressing. I make his meals, give him water, and change his diaper. I brush his teeth at night, hook him up to a monitor which shows his heart rate plus his oxygen level and go to bed with a prayer on my lips.
The question becomes, “Does my son’s life have purpose?” I answer a resounding, “Yes!” He brings joy to all who know him and even those who don’t. One video of his belly laugh or brilliant smile posted on Facebook, and I receive comments on how it made someone’s day.
He brings joy to our lives (and others) through a hundred happy smiles and daily giggles. From blowing kisses to clapping his hands together, his joy knows no bounds. And through milestones, though small and slow going, he brings us great joy.
Samuel is not defined by what he is not able to do, but by the love and joy he brings.
Am I alone in seeing great purpose in precious children with special needs? I turned to Facebook to find out. I asked:
“What is your special needs child purpose in life? How does he or she bless your family? Or others?”
These are their responses:
Jean Henry from Trach mommies, Trach babies & Trach buddies Group
I met my daughter, Angela, at an institution when she was 2 years old, and I was 19. I adopted her 18 months later. She had sleep apnea and aspiration issues. She wasn’t supposed to live to be 5 years old. She will be forty years old next June. I became a nurse and adopted five more. Angela taught me what I needed to know. I got kids out of foster care, and at least two converted to eating from tube feeding. I would have been afraid of kids with g-tubes (feeding tube), if not for her journey.
Audrey Shorter, Trach mommies, Trach babies & Trach buddies Group
I believe my daughter’s purpose is to help others. She’s very gentle, caring and overall beautiful. She has blessed us by being herself.
Christine Goulbourne from Special Needs Parenting Florida Group
Speaking of her son with autism, Christine writes, “If I needed to express what my son had done for me, it would have to be that he’s made me a better person. He reminds me that as a people, we are supposed to help one another. Especially those who cannot help themselves… How better can you serve the world you live in if not as a reminder of our humanity and the need for having compassion toward others.
Verniece Buchanan from POLP (Parents of Little People) on Facebook Group
My child’s purpose in life is to shine so bright that everyone he comes across will be mesmerized by his amazing personality. And, that they won’t see a person who is different, a person with a disability, a person who is short. But a PERSON.
Before we had Taiz, we never encountered a person with dwarfism or a person with any disability, but now I am training to be a teaching assistant in a special needs school. Would that of happened without Taiz? I don’t think so.
Michele Golomb – Samuel’s School Teacher
Special needs children teach others empathy, patience and a different way to love. Siblings also learn selflessness by helping to care for their brother or sister.
Faith & Love
Alison Stevenson Garcia on her son’s purpose from Kids with Vents Group
In response to my question, Alison responded: My first thought was “to love and serve the Lord.” Noah shows us and others true faith. Resilience. And to never to judge a book by its cover. I’ve had NICU doctors comment how Noah and I taught them to never take a kid at face value on his diagnosis… to not underestimate a mother’s love and desire to fight for life for their kid.
Veronica Campbell from Kids with Vents Group
Since I’m a Christian, my answer is…to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. But practically, it’s to show us what true strength and joy is, to keep us humble and reliant upon God for daily living, and to also share the value and beauty of LIFE to the world. My son has a terminal diagnosis, but he still LIVES so much more than you would ever expect.
Steve Meyer from Dwarf News Group
My special needs child, Andrew, served the most precious and impactful need of all. Though he no longer lives here on earth, his shall stay with me forever. You see, my pain, worry and suffering each day over Andrew’s struggle… left me desperate. I was desperate to get him all the help I could.
I prayed and prayed daily, sometimes hourly, and searched scripture for something to cling to in the name of hope. In my desperation to find healing, I began to grow closer and closer to God. I finally figured out while I was praying for healing for Andrew and as his condition fluctuated that “I” was being healed.
I wouldn’t wish loss of a baby on anyone. However, had it not been for going through my struggle to have one more day with Andrew, I grew to a relationship with God. So there was much good out of my struggle with my special needs son’s short life. When I get to heaven and meet Jesus in all that grandeur, I’ll see Andrew again! I want to thank him for his suffering that drew me closer to God. In everything give thanks.
Sirena Terrenal from Tracheostomy Group
My son’s purpose in life is very simple, happiness. He wants to continue to be happy and wants mommy always to be happy. He has told me, “I want you to be happy.” He smiles all the time and would even smile through his stridor when he had a 20-25% airway before the trach.
Maria Treadwell from POLP (Parents of Little People) on Facebook Group
What is the purpose of my Tadpole? She has taught us stubbornness, assertiveness, determination, and patience. Caring for her has changed us in ways we can’t even begin to describe, and I’m sure in ways we don’t always know.
Tadpole will be here to show the world it is not in perfection that we find happiness, but happiness that makes perfection. Because even with all the doctors and therapies, surgeries, and challenges. She is happy and perfect in every way.
Christopher Burkhardt from Special Needs Parenting Bloggers Group
She will come to you if you’re sad and do whatever she needs to make you smile.
Cheryl Silinskas from Tracheostomy Group
I can only guess her purpose in life. I think it’s something she’ll find her way to. Right now, my child wants to be a chef musician. I can see her doing something completely unique. She connects and engages with people in a way that they can’t help but smile. She blesses our family with love, joy, and laughter.
Summer Jo from Tracheostomy Group
My son’s purpose is to show others that the life we complain about is easy compared to what he has going on. To smile through the pain and live every minute you can. To take nothing for granted because we aren’t promised tomorrow. He’s seriously my hero.
Jessica Ann from Tracheostomy Group
My sons purpose in life? Well, he is showing us and everyone around us that all special need kids are just as loving, compassionate, strong and unique. He wants to be loved and treated just like others do. Yes, his life will be full of obstacles, but he is showing us he is a fighter.
He brings the true meaning of brave and superhero to the table. I’m very proud of my son. He blows us away every day, showing us he is a strong little boy who can do anything he puts his mind to.
Joan Collins James from Kids With Vents Group
After years we realized Hannah’s purpose was for me to connect families with kids that are similar. I have started FB (Facebook) groups for families that are local and for the children’s hospital. I love to provide support.
In Conclusion:“We all have purpose. Each and every one of us.” Click To Tweet
Though these dear children have challenges many of us don’t and in many cases need around the clock care, their lives have great purpose. We can learn, grow and experience a special kind of love and joy found nowhere else. The great life lessons of compassion, empathy, happiness and joy are found in their presence.
In the end, we can truly say, “We all have purpose. Each and every one of us.”
Have these stories touched you? Do you have your own story to share? Please comment, I read each one.