© Times-Herald photo by Nathan Liewicki
Alvin Law shares a laugh with students at the fourth annual Challenges and Choices Day Tuesday. More than 700 students from 11 Moose Jaw schools were at Riverview Collegiate Institute to hear the motivational speaker discuss 'Alvin's Laws of Life.'
Several hundred Moose Jaw students hear keynote address
“We were freaks of nature. We were called a mistake.”
Alvin Law has been subjected to his fair share of insults since he was born in 1960 – without arms.
Raised in Yorkton, Law’s physical differences – a result of his birth mother’s use of thalidomide while pregnant with him – have not limited the person he is or the life he lives.
“I drove here. I travel by myself. I feed myself. I look after my family. I own my own business. I travel the world,” Law told several hundred students. “Which part of me in handicapped?”
Law was at Riverview Collegiate Tuesday to deliver the keynote address at the fourth annual Challenges and Choices Day. More than 700 students from 11 Moose Jaw schools, from both school divisions, attended the event designed to promote teamwork.
The phrase ‘We’re All In’ was part of the event’s slogan: We’re all in this life together so let’s all work together to ensure no one gets left behind.’
While there were two other speakers who discussed overcoming obstacles and teamwork, plus two video montages, Law’s discussion about ‘Alvin’s Laws of Life’ highlighted the event.
Now 53, Law told students that there were days he struggled to cope with his situation. He thought about giving up and remaining in his parents’ home forever, but he didn’t.
“Some people just give up on themselves,” said Law. “I grew up in a home with parents that said, ‘we will never give up. We will never quit. We will never stop trying to accomplish the goal.’
“The goal was not to make me famous. The goal was to make me able.”
Not only is Law able, but he also considers himself to be a lucky man.
He attributes part of that luck to his musical abilities. Despite not having any arms, Law is a gifted musician.
Growing up he accumulated 17 gold medals from music festivals for drumming and playing trombone – specially built on to the side of a chair.
On Tuesday, Law showed off some of that talent by playing a series of notes on a snare drum. He also rattled off a few musical bars on a piano.
“It's not really funny having any arms, but really it is,” Law said. “Something can be two things at the exact same time and often they can be polar opposite.”
That was one of the underlying messages Law had for the several hundred students at Riverview. You might be labeled something by someone, but that’s not what you should accept, Law told students.
He’s been told all his life that he’s been handicapped, but one he’s worked his entire life – piece-by-piece – to rip off.
“It’s not about a positive attitude,” he said. “It’s about perspective.”
Jamie LaRose, a Grade 11 student at Riverview, agreed with Law.
“It’s really all about perspective. You can choose to have a negative attitude, or you can choose to have a positive attitude,” LaRose told the Times-Herald. “If you choose a positive attitude you can overcome differences, both individually and as a team.”
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks