Along with many others all around the world, I have been captivated by the trial of Oscar Pistorius. I have no interest in the sensationalism or the hype which the media portray, quickly forgetting this is a human being who has been overly publicised for the entertainment of many. One is quick to forget that this figure was being celebrated the world over only a few short months prior to the horrific incident which happened on Valentine’s Day last year. Like most, I hold my own personal views on this whole tragedy, yet my blog is not a platform for judgement or incrimination. I guess through the tone of this piece, along with the basic premise, it is easy for any reader to recognise my views and feelings surrounding this case. When such tragedy strikes, one might hope that some good may come out of the turmoil of emotions which are quick to flair, waxing and waning in the light of split opinions based primarily on information which is “after the fact”. So what does this mean for me, and what relevance does it hold for a blogspot which primarily focuses on child development and the joys of being a parent? A tenuous link some might say, but in reality, there is much to learn from Oscar Pistorius; far too much to explore on a platform such as this. If there is one aspect of Oscar’s life that resonates in most of us, it is his ability to overcome the odds. As a Westernised world, we are quick to pass blame when adversities plague our perceived utopian living, often passing accountability onto the closest fool who wilfully entertains our lack of responsibility. What this whole misfortune has brought to light in me as a parent, is Oscar's story; his persistence in the face of adversity as a young man, his self-belief and his determination. We all face adversities in life, and granted some more so than others, but it is how we choose to look these adversities directly in the face that will have the most impact on us as an individual. If I can teach my daughter that her uniqueness is a thing of beauty, then she will potentially have overcome so many complexities which teenagers face each and every day; the things which set her apart from everyone else are the very things which are truly worth celebrating. You see, self-esteem and the way we perceive ourselves, along with the value we place on who we are as an individual, are all key in how vulnerable we are to those who bully, mock and ridicule (only to feed their own insecurities of course).
There is an apt saying doing the rounds on social media at the moment which goes something like “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken”. Although rather “corny”, it does hold true, encouraging people to embrace their individuality. Oscar grew up as “different”, but his ability to rise in the face of disability makes him an exceptional individual, overcoming much adversity, becoming an inspiration to so many along the way.
This post would have been easier to accept for many of my readers if it were written 18 months ago. The irony of a father writing about Oscar Pistorius in a positive light does not escape me for one second given that the Steenkamp’s lost their “little girl”. Yet, as I inexcusably expressed earlier on, it is only right that some good should come from such misfortune. If there is one thing my little girl can learn from Oscar Pistorius (and there are many) it is this: Embrace who you are, celebrate the fact that you are unique and strive to achieve all that you may; after all, you are the only you there is.