On the Unsolved Mystery Show they had a story about one of those orphans on an Orphan Train who was shipped out west to see families interested in adoption, but never found a family interested in adopting him. He made his way to adulthood through foster care, but then sought out what he had lost. He found love, got married, and had many children. His original family was so troubled that when he was sent out on the train, he decided to look at it as an adventure. Life was an adventure for him. He was an exceptional man.
Personally, I know other people who had trouble in their younger lives, but came though in flying colors because of the effort they put into it. Sure, there were times when they cried on their pillow and suffered through things, but they never allowed themselves to become a victim in their own minds. And somehow that is key. They became a “survivor,” someone who “overcame” and “beat the odds.”
Sometimes it just takes one mature adult to show a child some love and they can work through their problems. In Baseball’s Winning Ways author J. D. Thorne mentions Babe Ruth’s remarkable story who as a young boy was sent by his parents to live in an orphanage. For Ruth it was Brother Matthias Boutlier a 6’6″ giant Religious Brother who took Ruth under his wing.
Patrick McCaskey wrote about the billionaire pizza king, Tom Monaghan, in our Sports and Faith: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout who like Ruth was sent to live in a Catholic Orphanage. Spending 6 years at the orphanage, he was inspired by Sister Berarda, a Polish nun.
Babe Ruth and Tom Monaghan lived through extreme cases of misery, but there was something inside of them that pushed them towards great success.
We’ve taken to making a mountain out of so many molehills these days. Most everyone has had some teacher who didn’t seem to like them; lost a contest because of something unfair; lived with a grumpy relative who bugged them; and much more. This isn’t the same as overcoming a life-threatening illness; being seriously wounded in the military service; fighting fires, or trying to keep order in the most dangerous neighborhoods.
It’s OK to feel sorry for ourselves every now and then, but if we make it our mission, there is little room for anything else.