Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child: Facing Challenges with Strength, Courage, and Hope

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9781601428356: Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child: Facing Challenges with Strength, Courage, and Hope

Your guide to giving your child with special needs love, roots, & wings

“You may lack limbs, but don’t let that define what you can or can’t do.”

 
That’s the life-changing advice Boris Vujicic spoke to his son, Nick, who was born without arms or legs. With the help of his parents, Nick has become an internationally known inspirational speaker, a best-selling author, the founder of the nonprofit organization Life Without Limbs and, most importantly, a loving and responsible husband and father himself.
      But Nick’s journey didn’t start there. Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child is the inspiring, powerfully transparent story of how two unprepared and overwhelmed parents—Boris and Dushka Vujicic—overcame their grief, fears, and badly shaken faith to raise such an accomplished, faith-filled, and perfectly imperfect son.
      Through their stories, Boris offers practical advice and encouragement for all parents facing a “new normal” when raising a child with special needs or unique challenges. With tenderness, he addresses the spiritual, emotional, and financial challenges, and offers insights on how to equip a child for happiness and success in life.
 
“I highly recommend Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child to anyone who has questions about bringing up a special-needs son or daughter.”
—Joni Eareckson Tada, founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Center
 
“A profoundly moving, triumphant testimony to what it means to be an extraordinary parent.”
--Robin Berman, MD, author of Permission to Parent: How to Raise Your Child with Love and Limits

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

BORIS VUJICIC is chief systems and financial officer for Attitude Is Altitude Inc., the organization established by his son Nick. Born in Yugoslavia, Boris immigrated with his family to Australia. He and his wife, Dushka, have started two churches and helped in the missions and ministry of several more churches in other countries. Boris and his family reside in Los Angeles.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Foreword by Nick Vujicic 

I was born without limbs, and my disabilities have brought many challenges, yet I’ve often said anyone who grows up without loving and supportive parents has far more to overcome than I did.

I can’t imagine how difficult that would be. 

My father and mother were always there for me. That’s not to say they coddled me or gave me everything I wanted. As my father notes in this wise and insightful book, my grandparents and others often wondered how my mother could not rush to help me as I struggled to stand as a toddler. 

“Let him figure it out,” my mum would say. “He needs to do things for himself.” 

I admit this approach sometimes annoyed me, especially when my parents required me to earn my allowance by vacuuming the house, cleaning my room, and making my bed. Then there were the many long nights Dad drilled me on math problems while my idle Nintendo games called me to come play. 

I understand now that they were being good parents. They worked to instill a strong work ethic, personal responsibility, and a foundation of faith in me and in my brother and sister as well. They also told me nearly every day that there were no limits on my life. “You may lack limbs, but you can do anything you want,” they said. 

Later my father and mother may have wondered if they were too successful at giving me the roots and wings to become an independent adult. At the age of nineteen, I announced plans for my first international speaking tour. I had arranged to travel to South Africa with the goal of giving away twenty thousand dollars in savings to needy orphans there. 

My parents strongly objected to this audacious plan, as you might imagine. They were concerned for my safety while journeying through a rugged part of the world in a wheelchair. And they were shocked that I would dish out my hard-earned nest egg at such a young age. 

I reminded them that they’d always said there were no limits on my life, and every single night of my childhood they’d made sure I prayed and asked God to help the poor children of the world. 

“You planted the seeds for this!” I said. 

They were not amused, but they did not stand in my way. Mum and Dad are still sometimes taken aback by my big dreams and adventurous spirit, but they are always encouraging and willing to pitch in. 

They are not perfect, of course, but to borrow from this book’s title, they are “perfectly imperfect.” The older I get, the more I realize the parental warnings and rules that bothered me in my teen years were actually signs of a caring mother and father preparing me for a productive
and accomplished life. 

Still, it is a little disconcerting to consider that my father has been proven right about nearly everything he cautioned me against, warned me to avoid, or emphatically told me not to do!
There were so many times I thought he was dead wrong, but as it turned out, he was usually dead right. 

My father always seems to be three steps ahead of me. I have this nagging feeling I will never catch up. Sometimes as a child I wondered if there was more than one of him or if he had superpowers. He juggled three jobs, started several churches as a lay pastor, and helped my working mum do all it took to raise a disabled daredevil and two other lively kids. 

Yet whenever we needed Dad, he miraculously appeared. 

This occurred on the night after I’d tried to drown myself in the bathtub and then told my little brother my plan to commit suicide before the age of twenty-one. My parents didn’t know about the suicide attempt, and neither did my brother. But Aaron went to Dad and told him what I’d said about killing myself before I turned twenty-one. 

My father came to my room and talked calmly to me. He offered assurance that mum and he loved me, that my brother and sister loved me, and that God loved me too. 
Then my dad sat on my bed and gently stroked my hair until I fell asleep. I will never forget that. 

Oh, we do still bang heads because we are so much alike. We have the same intense drive and strong-willed temperament. He predicted that I will probably butt heads with my kids too. When we announced that Kanae was pregnant with our first child, he smiled and said, “Now you’ll see what it’s like to be a father.” 

Once again, Dad was spot on. I tell my son Kiyoshi to pick up his toys. I will one day make him do chores to earn his allowance. Already at night, I remind him to pray and ask God to help the poor children around the world. Then I put my chin on his head and nuzzle him until he falls asleep. I hope he never forgets that. 

Perfectly imperfect sons become perfectly imperfect fathers. I pray that I’m as good a parent as my mother and father. Still, I can think of one thing I will do differently with my son. When Kiyoshi comes to me at the age of nineteen and announces that he’s traveling to some faraway place to give all his savings to the orphans, I will say, “I’m coming with you!” 

Thanks for everything, Mom and Dad. You prepared me for a ridiculously good life. You encouraged me to pursue a life without limits, and you showed me how to love without limits. 
Kanae and I will do the same for our children. 
Love, 
Nick 
One 

The Perfectly Imperfect Child

Accept, Love, and Learn from Your Unique Child 

My wife, Dushka, and I were excited and more than a little nervous. The prenatal tests had looked fine for the baby. There’d been no problems at all during this pregnancy. When the baby made it known that he was ready, my wife went to the delivery room with the doctor and nurses.

I prayed while waiting for the call to join her, adding to the hundreds of prayers I’d offered up in the preceding months. Dushka was a nurse and a midwife. She and I were well aware of the potential for problems in a pregnancy and during the delivery. So many things can go wrong.

I’d often thought a normal birth is a miracle. Since this was a first pregnancy, we knew the delivery might take a long time, and it did. Twelve hours of labor passed before the call came and I was allowed into the room. The first thing that struck me was the joy in my wife’s eyes. I shared her elation when I looked to the tiny form resting upon his mother’s chest: a baby boy with two arms, two legs, and a beautiful face. He was a perfectly formed, beautiful child of God. Our first grandchild! My beaming son, Nick, the proud father, was at the bedside of his wife, Kanae, the mother. It was a miracle! Nick was euphoric, so happy he seemed to levitate over his wife and newborn son, nuzzling them, kissing them, reassuring himself they were real—his own family at last. 

This was a moment Nick, Dushka, and I had hardly dared to dream about. We’d feared that because he had been born with neither arms nor legs, Nick would never find a wife or have a family. But within two short years, what had seemed impossible had become a reality. Nick had met and won the heart of a beautiful, soulful, and spiritual young Christian woman, Kanae Miyahara. 

One year and one day after their marriage, their son Kiyoshi was born. 

Taken by Surprise 

Seven months earlier, Kanae and Nick had done their best to make the surprise announcement of her pregnancy memorable—and they certainly succeeded. We gathered at Nick and Kanae’s home for a belated Father’s Day party because Nick had been traveling. Our daughter, Michelle, was visiting, so she joined us for a wonderful dinner prepared by Kanae. After the main course, Kanae brought out a cake for dessert. We wondered at first if she’d lost her usual graceful touch as a decorator. Half of it was covered in blue icing. The other half was pink. We were clueless about the purpose of this color scheme. We took the cake but not the hint. 
I didn’t even catch on to her little secret when Kanae asked, “Okay, Dad, do you want a blue slice or a pink slice?” 

“Blue,” I said. 

Dushka didn’t pick up on the hints either. In fact she didn’t want any cake at all. 

I’d already started eating my blue cake when Kanae said with a laugh, “Well, obviously my hints didn’t work for you.” 

I was way behind the learning curve as usual, but Dushka and Michelle screamed out, “You’re pregnant!” 

The not-so-subtle symbolism of the blue-and-pink cake finally became clear to dull-headed Dad.
I joined in the celebration of Father’s Day—the first time I had shared the holiday’s guest-of-honor role with my son, the father-to-be. 

Our first Father’s Day together was truly one of the highlights of my life, and it was made all the sweeter by the emotional journey we had traveled with Nick through his childhood and into manhood. We’d had no idea that Nick would be born without limbs, and though doctors reassured our family time and again that it was not an inherited trait, we certainly were relieved when
Kiyoshi was born with all the standard-issue appendages. 
The arrival of our grandson washed away any lingering pain from the grief and fear we experienced when his father was born. Such a contrast between those two events in our lives.
Such relief that God had a different plan for our grandson. 

Yet by the time Kiyoshi was born, I’d come to have a much different view of what constitutes a perfectly made human being. My wife and I were lifelong Christians, yet we had each experienced a crisis of faith when Nick was born. We could not believe that a loving God would burden us with such a severely disabled child. Was He punishing us for reasons neither of us could fathom? 

We would come to realize our reaction was very typical for the parents of a disabled child, but at the time we lacked perspective. We also lacked the power to look into the future and see what was in store for Nick, who eventually proved to be an incredible blessing, not only to our family, but also to millions around the world. 

Wonderfully Made 

With our limited vision, Dushka and I could foresee only struggle and anguish for Nick and for us. We were so wrong, of course. Our son and our experiences with him have enriched our lives beyond measure and taught us many lessons at the heart of this book. Nick gave us a new definition of the ideal child and a deeper appreciation for the complexity of our Father’s divine vision. 

Nick taught us to find new meaning in the psalm that says we are “wonderfully made.” We came to see Nick as God’s beautiful creation, lovingly formed in His image. We lacked the wisdom, initially, to understand that. We saw Nick as disabled rather than enabled. We could not grasp that his missing arms and legs were part of God’s unique plan for our son. 

When people around the world see Nick, they understand immediately that he had to overcome substantial physical and emotional challenges. They can imagine what it must have taken to build such a positive and remarkable life as a speaker and evangelist who travels the world helping others and giving hope to all. For that reason, when Nick speaks to them with messages of inspiration and faith, they are moved and impacted in profound and life-changing ways. 

Dushka and I know now that Nick and Kiyoshi and all children are perfectly formed. It took us a long time to attain that knowledge. We went through many difficult days and nights to reach that enlightenment. The low points were deep. Yet all the pain and frustration we endured while parenting our remarkable son has only made his victories and achievements all the sweeter and more meaningful. 

Two Very Different Births 

The arrival of a first grandchild is a special moment for every grandparent. When I saw Nick place his forehead to that of his newborn son and nuzzle him for the first time, my soul soared. Nick’s birth was such a shock and so frightening. Kiyoshi’s was just the opposite—an incredibly blissful experience. 

Kiyoshi was born with a normal body and thus seemed perfect to all who viewed him. Yet just as we had no vision of the life Nick would create, we cannot foresee what God has in mind for our grandson. Will our “perfect” grandson be able to follow and surpass the achievements of his “imperfect” father? There are some big shoes to fill, but I don’t think that is really important. I want Kiyoshi to be happy and fulfilled according to his own desires and expectations. 

What is important, I believe, is that we place no limits on our children. We should not burden them with our expectations, because our vision is no match for that of our Creator. There is a tendency to think a glass can be either half empty or half full, but there is a third option—the glass is always full. It may not be full of a liquid, but what is not liquid is oxygen. We usually measure only what we can see. The truth of things is often hidden from us, like the invisible oxygen that fills the glass. 

When Nick was born, his path in life seemed very steep. We failed to account for the human capacity to rise above and soar beyond. Beethoven gradually lost his hearing during the last twenty-five years of his life when he composed some of his most renowned symphonies. 

He was disabled as far as his hearing, but he didn’t write from what he heard; he created music from the heart. Stephen Hawking has thrived in a forty-year career as a theoretical physicist and author despite being severely disabled and, eventually, paralyzed by motor neuron disease. In effect he has no arms, no legs, and only a shell of a body. Heart is what really matters. The strength of our spirits can overcome nearly any weakness of the body. 

Over time our son revealed to us what we could not see when we looked at that limbless cherub in the maternity ward. He humbled us and forced us to open our eyes and our minds. Nick seemed incomplete at birth, but it was our perception that was flawed. 

Fear Versus Faith

After Nick was born, Dushka and I had great trepidation—not only about his limitations, but also about our own. We did not feel at all capable of providing for the basic needs of such a child, let alone raising him to be a happy, self-confident, and high-achi...

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Descripción Waterbrook Press, 2017. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Your guide to giving your child with special needs love, roots, wings You may lack limbs, but don t let that define what you can or can t do. That s the life-changing advice Boris Vujicic spoke to his son, Nick, who was born without arms or legs. With the help of his parents, Nick has become an internationally known inspirational speaker, a best-selling author, the founder of the nonprofit organization Life Without Limbs and, most importantly, a loving and responsible husband and father himself. But Nick s journey didn t start there. Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child is the inspiring, powerfully transparent story of how two unprepared and overwhelmed parents--Boris and Dushka Vujicic--overcame their grief, fears, and badly shaken faith to raise such an accomplished, faith-filled, and perfectly imperfect son. Through their stories, Boris offers practical advice and encouragement for all parents facing a new normal when raising a child with special needs or unique challenges. With tenderness, he addresses the spiritual, emotional, and financial challenges, and offers insights on how to equip a child for happiness and success in life. I highly recommend Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child to anyone who has questions about bringing up a special-needs son or daughter. --Joni Eareckson Tada, founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Center A profoundly moving, triumphant testimony to what it means to be an extraordinary parent. --Robin Berman, MD, author of Permission to Parent: How to Raise Your Child with Love and Limits. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9781601428356

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