I saw this on Facebook today and knew it was going to be an inspirational kind of story but I watched it anyway and I found it incredibly inspiring. Not because a man with a disability dived from a diving board but because the young man who supported him did so in the best way possible.
Support proving is tough. It requires you to know when to help and when to hold back. It needs you to examine, moment by moment, what’s yours and what’s not yours. The young man in this video is awe inspiring in the ways he respectfully and almost invisibly supports the older man to make the dive. When you see him climb the platform behind the older guy, he is close enough to help in an emergency but far enough away to allow the man to do it himself, without worry of interference.
Then on the board as the man with a disability walks out towards the edge, look at the hand of the guy giving direct support. He his clutched hard onto the rails. Holding himself back. Watching with laser focus, but holding himself back. Only when the man motions for assistance does he step forward. He takes his hand and assists until he’s not needed any more.
And then he steps back.
He’s there when the man nearly falls. He catches him, rights him on his feet. And then steps back. When the dive is made he applauds like everyone else and backs of the board and out of view. He’s done what needed to be done.
Yes a man with a disability dove off a board.
Yes everyone will focus on that.
And be inspired.
But for me I’m not inspired by people with disabilities doing things they love, I’m pleased that, and this is weird, that he was allowed to do it by all the people around him, including the liability lawyers at the pool.
What inspires me is seeing a perfect example of direct support, respectful, nearly invisible, support. Oh, I know what he did was highly visible, but how he did it made it easy to focus on the man and his accomplishment rather than on him and his role in helping make that happen.