When we encounter a tough obstacle in the path of life, it’s very tempting to turn around and head back in the other direction. Jen Bricker‘s story encourages us to rethink that tendency.
Born without legs, and with her heart on the opposite side of her chest, she embraced a philosophy handed down to her from her parents: never say can‘t!
“‘Never say can’t is so much more than those words. Because words without action are just empty and powerless and void. So my parents did something so powerful – they didn’t just say, ‘You can do whatever you want!’, and, ‘We believe in you!'”
“If they would have just said that, but then when I came to them and said, ‘I want to play softball! Basketball! Volleyball! Power tumbling!’, and, ‘I want to go roller skating!’ – instead of coming back with, ‘Well… I mean, that’s pretty impossible. That’s really difficult. Here’s a laundry list of all the reasons why you can’t do it. You’re too fragile. It’s too dangerous.’
Instead of responding in the way that Jen might have anticipated, her parents took another track entirely:
“All of these things, they were like – ‘OK! That’s awesome! So we’re just going to figure out how to make it work for you. Skates on your hands.’ And that was it.”
“Never once did they discourage me and that is everything. It’s everything because it transcends into who you are as an adult and the way you go about your own dreams and passions. It gave me the confidence to make my own choices. To have a level head on my shoulders. To trust my own opinions and judgments, and to be able to make decisions on my own – which absolutely, again, translates into me as an adult. So they just made a huge huge impact on me.”
Jen Bricker is an internationally-known aerial gymnast, a champion power tumbler, and a motivational speaker. She’s penned a new book detailing her journey of faith, drive and extraordinary determination, called .On the Road with Jen Bricker