Sunday, December 5, 2021

A teenager with a jolt of positivity

While everyone has been focused on getting a COVID-19 shot, and for understandable reasons, there is something else that would help people out and uplift their spirits. It's a jolt of positivity.

I found my blast of positivity during a recent interview with Megan Copeland of Owatonna. A senior who will graduate from OHS next month, Megan qualified for the state speech contest last month.

I am always taken back when I find a teenager like Megan who is years beyond her age.

Megan sees things a little differently than most of us. She has been blind since birth and began learning how to get around with a cane as a small child.

"Nothing gets in my way," Megan said matter of fact. "My positivity helps me get through a lot of stuff. I know I am going to be able to conquer (whatever comes along)."

The teenager said she doesn't want to be defined by any physical handicap.

"God made me the way I am for a reason," Megan says. "I have an amazing life just the way I am, and it just happens to be that I can't see."

Life, Megan stresses, isn't about what or how you look. With not being able to see, Megan finds herself at an advantage over most people.

"I see the inner self and see people's true character," Megan said. "I think some people aren't able to see because they are looking too much on what a person looks like on the outside. We all have a character on the inside."

Contrary to what you may think, Megan doesn't look at life as a struggle even though she can't see. "I haven't had a reason to feel any other way," she said. "I always feel happy and comfortable," she added.

Megan's parents, Rian and Jennifer Copeland, initially struggled with having a special needs child. That's until they came across a poem, "Welcome to Holland."

The poem shares about when you're having a baby, it's like planning a fabulous trip to Italy. After months of anticipation and preparation for Italy, the day finally arrives and you set off only to end up in Holland. You're forced to stay in Holland and do not get to Italy.

It ends by saying if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special and lovely things about Holland.

Jennifer said that has rung true of having a child who just happens to be blind.

"If you think of all the things you're missing, you'll never notice what's in front of you," Jennifer said. "You have to enjoy all the beauty that's there."

Jennifer said she is so proud of Megan and what she has accomplished in her life. "It doesn't matter what the obstacles have been, she always comes out shining," she said. "She doesn't let too many roadblocks get in her way," she added.

Many people, Jennifer said, have commented how Megan has inspired them by her positive attitude.

After graduating next month, Megan will head off to the Academy for the Blind in Faribault. She wants to pursue a career in the legal field, possibly as a court reporter.

Something tells me Megan won't have any trouble going in hot pursuit of obtaining her goals.


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