As 2006 quickly comes to a close,and a brand new year waits in the wings teasing us with all those enticing new life adventures, I again find myself in need of some renewed inspiration for all those professional and personal challenges that I am sure to face in the Near Year.

So I’ve added a little mindless holiday fun into my life, seasoned with some solid inspiration for 2007, something I highly recommend for all parents.

At no time was this simple recipe for year-end renewal greater, or more necessary, than during the nearly thirteen years that I parented a child with cerebral palsy, complete with its many rewards and significant daily demands.

Because Eric’s needs made every day life a bit more complicated than that of many other families, I learned early on to look for inspiration and renewal in simple ways, like that found in going to the movies (or renting a dvd on those days when getting away was nearly impossible with my son’s demands). One of the things I love most about the holidays are all those great new movie releases, and the rare break in my schedule to actually indulge in my passion for them.

As a writer, speaker and advocate for those with special needs, I am particularly fond of stories that inspire or motivate us to become better human beings. I like those that champion the causes of the common man and woman. I love tales that call us to action.

I like movies that make us think, and then challenge us to act more boldly and fearlessly in our own lives. I like movies that help us believe that we, too, are part of the solution to real-world challenges, big and small. I like movies that make me feel better about the future of our world, not worse.

I cherish movies with good writing, great acting and real substance- movies that feed my brain, while also fueling my heart and soul. I like being reminded of the potential and the power that each one of us holds to change the world for the better, no matter how dire universal events appear at first glance. I like being moved to tears for all the right reasons.

I deplore senseless acts of violence and cruelty and crudeness in films that contribute little if anything to the betterment of mankind, and leave me in danger of feeling hopeless about the world’s dicey course, and terribly concerned for the future of our youth. (Think lighted match in a room overflowing with spilled gasoline).

I like walking out of the movies feeling moved and empowered and responsible for my role in creating my own rich and colorful life tapestry. I appreciate knowing that my valuable time and money have been well spent. I like believing that all those people who made the movie somehow valued my intelligence and their own creative integrity. I love movies that challenge adults to do better by the world’s children, especially through our critical parenting choices.

I like seeing underdogs succeed, in light of all the bad odds and the loud voices of those ever-present naysayers.

I like leaving the theater feeling ready for another year, whatever life plans to throw at me. I love believing my carefully thought out New Year’s resolutions really are possible, not just pipe dreams fueled by too much holiday chocolate washed down with too many glasses of warm wine.

I like knowing that I’ve got yet another chance to pursue all my fondest life dreams, and a clean slate to do it on. I like thinking that I can still finish the important work that I began during this year–that my life is not over until it’s over.

As I prepare for another year of trying to create greater awareness and understanding of the value and potential of those with special needs, in a society obsessed with physical perfection and celebrity, I welcome this brief and energizing seasonal break.

And sometimes, I just want to be entertained.

Here are a couple of year-end movies that worked for me.


I wish that everyone could see this movie. BOBBY explores a day in the lives of the people who work at or are staying in the Ambassador Hotel, on the day that Bobby Kennedy is shot. The film’s power is in its simple story telling; it shares with the viewer the stories and personalities of everyday folk going about their daily lives. This human focus is made more powerful by the commitment Bobby Kennedy came to have for all those who struggle or face discrimination of any kind, something fueled by his own pain and loss and introspection after the death of his brother, President Kennedy. BOBBY reminds us that we all lost something big that day, and the world has never quite regained its just course, or its innocence.

Perhaps if enough people see this movie, that harsh reality will change, and maybe the hope and light and concern for the human condition that Bobby Kennedy shared with the world will be again be reignited. After viewing this movie, we can hope…and then we can act.

Also recommended: THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS: starring Will Smith.

Inspiring, motivating and worth the price of admission if only to see Will Smith’s young son in his amazing film debut. The kid is cute as can be, and he can act. This is a great real-life story about one man championing over the toughest life odds. I especially like the message to all dads to step up and be good parents and role models for their children, especially their sons, an example sorely needed in today’s world. This movie will remind you that you don’t have to look far to find someone who has it tougher than you do. This happy ending will leave you cheering, and the real-life example of serious parent power at work will inspire you.

Next Up: Dreamgirls

And be sure to catch CARS now out in dvd.

Don’t forget to write me and tell me what inspires you in the New Year, but no attachments please! I won’t open them! If you want me to read your heartfelt words, please put your messages in the body of your email.

Happy 2007!

Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs