I couldn’t help but feel my heart pounding hard as I watched a 13-year-old boy tell the world about the kindness extended to him by Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Brayden Harrington has a stuttering issue he must confront every day. He delivered his remarks with supreme courage during the virtual Democratic Party Convention this week. He got most of his remarks out without a hitch. Not all of it, though.
Biden overcame a stuttering issue as he was coming of age. He would read poetry, forming words carefully to avoid getting caught up in a stutter. I admire his courage, too, in fighting through the debilitating impediment. I also will pray for the future progress of young Brayden as he makes his way through life.
I also would tell him, if given the chance, that he must prepare himself for more of the mistreatment I am certain he has endured already from his peers. I won’t call them his “friends,” because real friends wouldn’t subject him to the bullying and humiliation he likely will experience … and has experienced already.
I know how it goes. I felt it, too. I once had a serious stuttering problem. I cannot say it is totally eradicated. Words still trip me up on rare occasions. As a teenager — indeed, well into my high school years — I struggled with speaking, particularly in front of large groups of people.
Two of my classmates in high school heard me once stumble while trying to say my own last name during a class project. They just split a gut, man! For the rest of my high school years these two fellows would mimic that moment of supreme embarrassment.
Well, that was then. The here and now is quite different. I have conquered that demon … more or less. Oh, those two guys? One of them is now deceased. I saw the other one at my 50-year high school reunion in 2017. We chatted amicably as if nothing ever happened during the bad old days. I hope he reads this blog and recognizes himself in it.
Hey, I don’t hold any hard feelings toward him now. I damn sure did back then.
So, I salute young Brayden Harrington for standing before the entire world and speaking out on behalf of a politician who knows the battle he is enduring.
Could I ever do such a thing when I was 13 years of age?
Not on your life!