During Jim Valvano’s 1993 Espy Awards Speech, he encouraged us to never give up, not ever give up. That speech still lives bookmarked on my favorites and is referenced when I need a little motivation.
Today, in a tearful Columbus, Ohio ball room on the second floor of the Renaissance Hotel, Darrell Scott, father of the first homicide victim from the Columbine School shooting, Rachel Scott, addressed a room full of middle school educators. I was there with my work as well and was fortunate to listen in. He shared his daughter’s compelling story with us and quite frankly I don’t know how he had the strength to watch the video that played on the two projection screens.
The similarities were astounding and equally as insightful in the back of my mind when I thought of Jimmy V’s passion and sincerity in his delivery; Don’t give up, don’t ever give up. Rachel Scott was only 15 years old when she lost her life to ignorant violence but before she left, she had a dream and a vision of making the world a better place. Born from that vision, was Rachel’s Challenge. Listening to Darrell Scott share his little girl’s dreams with a room of strangers was inspiring. Because not only was his daughter killed that day but his son was also in that school and witnessed two of his friends murdered in cold blood. I can’t imagine the pain that family has endured… It seems so unjust and so vulgar to be put into a situation of that magnitude; but if you believe everything happens for a reason, I hope you’ll investigate the story of Rachel Scott more in depth because it truly is a story of miracles.
While I shook Darrell’s hand after his talk, I could sense a bit of numbness in his expression and somber in his voice just like in this video. – It takes a strong individual to forgive when the pain is so great and the loss so special. Mr. Scott talked about prejudging people when we meet them for the first time and offered a suggestion that if we look for the good in people, we will see it; and of course viceversa… (If the father of a slain daughter can forgive, maybe I can forgive as well and find the good in others before noticing the bad, right?)
Today’s experience left me feeling compelled to do something supportive; to carry out Rachel’s wish; so I share Rachel’s challenge in the best way I know how… my writing. Jim Valvano challenged his audience to accomplish three things everyday; to laugh, to spend some time in thought, and to have your emotions brought to tears. He said if you can do those three things everyday you will have lived that day to it’s fullest.
Thank you Mr. Scott; Jimmy V would have been proud of all of us today, especially you.