When we all grow up, we should wish for the courage of this 13-year-old boy.
As many of you likely know, the Democratic National Convention was this past week. Thursday saw the formal acceptance speech of Joe Biden to become the Democratic Nominee, but many people don’t remember that speech compared to Brayden Harrington’s.
Brayden Harrington is a 13-year-old boy with a severe stutter. Apparently, he met Joe Biden at a rally. The former Vice President has struggled all his life with a stutter and has always connected deeply with them.
Here’s the first time Biden & Harrington met:
Then, on Thursday, just before Biden’s speech, Harrington addressed the nation:
It’s an astonishing display of courage and strength. As a 13-year-old, I didn’t want to be seen in public on my best day – let alone with my deepest struggles and insecurities displayed FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. This young man and his family knew – had to know – that they were exposing themselves to millions of horrendous people, people who would mock this kid. They had to know he was changing his life forever.
He spoke anyway.
And he inspired others. I caught this tweet:
This brave man was inspired by a 13-year-old boy. It’s unreal.
Brayden Harrington’s bravery inspired others. It had millions of people looking at television and thinking, “If he can do it, why can’t I?”
Forgive me for a moment as I veer into my story. When I first spoke about my own depression & anxiety issues, I did it to try to destigmatize mental health. What I didn’t calculate was the inspirational effect. That by telling my story, I’d encourage others to tell there’s.
That’s what Brayden Harrington did.
To be clear, what this kid did, given his young age and the literal national audience, was astonishing. I just have no other words for it. But I would hope that all of us out there could look at Harrington’s bravery – and the incredibly warm response it has received – and see ourselves in it. Whatever you shame, your struggle, if you think you are the only one…you are incorrect. Millions upon millions of people suffer from stuttering, and Harrington gave them all a confident and commanding voice.
My point? Share your story. It doesn’t have to be on national television or in an op-ed in your paper. It doesn’t have to be a big Facebook status.
Tell a friend. Tell a stranger. Say the words out loud, and find comfort and strength in finding your voice and using it. There is a power in sharing what you think is a shameful secret…you show it you aren’t afraid. You find support in areas you didn’t know existed. And you inspire others to do the same. It helps you take command of your secret, whatever it is.
Trust me on that.