Man with No Arms Motivates, Inspires WHS Students
When Alvin Law plays the piano, students listen.
No, not because he is a prodigy or because he sells out Carnegie Hall; it’s because he plays the piano with his toes.
Law was a guest speaker at Westminster High School this week where, with a mix of humor and pain, he shared his life story with students and encouraged them to believe in themselves. The motivational speaker added that when times get tough, students should know that there are people ready and willing to help.
“Life is supposed to be a challenge,” Law told the students.
He ought to know.
Law was born without arms as a result of his mother’s use of the drug thalidomide while pregnant. The drug was often prescribed to prevent morning sickness and was widely used before researchers connected the drug’s use with the potential for birth defects. Law’s birth parents put him up for adoption and he was raised by foster parents.
Students hung on Laws every word.
He told the story of a high school friend who routinely accompanied him to the bathroom to help pull up his pants, even though other students would snicker and make jokes. He shared the story of how his parents insisted that he do things for himself, like make his bed and shovel snow. He laughed as he talked of his father taking him ice skating.
The strongest response of all came when Law talked about body image and the need for students to accept who they are and not try to live up to other people’s standards. He recounted how, when he was young, it hard for him to look in the mirror or take his shirt off in public.
“We need to change our thinking about our bodies,” he said. “You need to respect yourself.” Law encouraged young ladies to dress for themselves and not to attract boys and told the male students to respect women and not treat them as objects.
From a life that began in tragedy, Law’s positive outlook and refusal to give in has brought him fame, respect and a successful career. But more than anything he has learned about perspective.
“It’s not the prize,” he said. “It’s the pursuit.”
Watch the video below to see Alvin play piano.
Posted January 16, 2014