First let me give you some background; Karl was born in San Juan Puerto Rico to a Spanish mother and American father. When Karl was 5 years old the family moved to the US (Arizona) where he had the daunting task of learning to speak English on his own in elementary school. Growing up he was considered “slow” and spent his entire secondary education in “special education”. He was told he would not be able to get a job beyond minimum wage.
When Jim and I first met Karl 13 years ago it was not love at first sight. Yes, go figure – in-laws not fond of their perspective son-in-law, but Karl possesses a quality within him that grows on you and you begin to root for the “underdog”. I think what first brought me to love him was not only the love he possessed for our daughter, but the love and protection he showed to our then, 5 year old grandson. Karl not only became a loving husband to our daughter, but he became a devoted father to our grandson to which he would give his own life for that precious child.
As you can imagine, growing up as a “special education” child can become overwhelming when you become a husband, father and sole financial provider of the family. I was able to connect with Karl in a way that my husband, Jim could never really understand completely. I too had difficulties at school and was told I could never make it in college and needed to change my course selection in high school; but later, in my adult years individuals came into my life that believed in me, and told me that I can do anything I put my mind to, and that was just what I told Karl as well.
It took a while for Karl to believe it, but over the years he and I would have many “discussions”. If I would see him slack off or hear him say he could not accomplish much in his life I would jump right in and we would have one of our “special” discussions – and yes, a few times I might have “bit” his head off! If there is one thing I do not like to hear is “I can’t” or any other negative talk about oneself. It is a slightly funny, Karl has said quite often, “Mom is one of the most low keyed people I know and does not get angry too often, but when she does - stand back!”
A few years ago Karl decided to acquire a college education through online courses. We all knew it would be extremely challenging for Karl. Let’s face it; it is most difficult for anyone who has a family and a full time job to also place upon themselves the challenges of college. But we all told him he can do it! We believe in his God given abilities and we have continued to cheer him on and encouraged him along the way. It reminds me of watching a caterpillar become a beautiful butterfly or a diamond in the rough becoming a beautiful polished gem. The past two years Karl has been on the Dean’s List and this past grading period he is on the Presidents List – a 4.0 grade point average! Not bad for a boy who struggled through primary and secondary education to receive C’s and D’s!
Karl is approaching the finish line – he has one more grading period to go before he graduates from college with a bachelor’s degree!
Karl is living proof that if you put your mind to it you can accomplish your goals even when family, friends, and circumstances say it’s impossible. Karl has proved to all the “Nay-Sayers” that "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." Mark 10:27
When Karl graduates in June he will be 35 years old and Lord willing he will be able to take his degree and get a job worthy of his abilities and accomplishments! We know the job market is difficult– but God has brought him thus far and the Lord will provide. “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
Alright Michele, practice what you preach! I can and I will become a Healthier ME!
Karl, you have taught an “old dog” a new “trick”! You have inspired me to continue my journey to become a healthier me! I am sure today, after reading this post you have inspired others as well.