Motivational speaker Alvin Law, who has no arms, gives a rousing pep talk to students involved in an Alberta Junior High Leadership Conference at Ponoka Secondary Campus. The conference was a special 24-hour event that started Nov. 17 where junior high school leaders came together for special workshops. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

When things get rough, it’s about a change of attitude

Motivational speaker Alvin Law talks to junior high school leaders at Ponoka Secondary Campus

When it comes to life’s challenges, motivational speaker Alvin Law understands what is needed to turn things around.

Law was the keynote speaker at Ponoka Secondary Campus Nov. 17 during a special Alberta Junior High Leadership Conference aimed at giving young student leaders a chance at learning and collaboration.

Law has no arms due to his mother taking Thalidomide when he was in the womb and despite those challenges, he has found a way to have a positive outlook on life. It’s that key message he tried to impart to students in attendance.

“In 1972 it was acceptable for people like me to be called a freak,” said Law.

Ever since he can remember he has had people look at him differently or be bullied for his appearance. Law said when his parents saw he had no arms when he was born, they abandoned him.

“The best thing that ever happened to me is my parents didn’t want me,” Law stated.

He was adopted by Hilda and Jack Law who were foster parents and while not all foster home stories are seen as pleasant, Law says this was the best thing for him.

His parents challenged him to figure out how to function with his feet. And he did. There are countless stories of Law learning how to do something new such as learning how to skate or play soccer. Now he drives with his feet and eats and takes care of himself with his feet.

Law took a realistic viewpoint to his situation, pointing out that people and kids stare at him. He now makes a point of embracing that to help educate people. “I realize that I can’t stop people from looking but what I can change is the way I respond.”

That’s not to say that everything has been easy for Law. In his teen years, life for him was difficult, but Law credits his parents for once again showing him that it’s up to him to decide how to move forward.

In a clear message to the youths at the conference, Law stated that leaders aren’t born, they’re developed. He likened this to a nurture versus nature situation.

“Nurture is about the experiences you have growing up,” said Law.

He pointed out that in life, with the conference and workshops, and future life events, that will shape their strengths and abilities. Law spoke about his own life experiences as an example.

He learned to wash the dishes, mow the lawn or shovel the snow off the sidewalk.

“It is truly remarkable what you can accomplish when you’re faced with an impossible task,” said Law.

He told the story of how, as a child, a piano teacher told him his toes were too short to play music. Law then proceeded play Chopsticks for attendees, and eventually his own musical number on the piano.

Law also played the drums for those in attendance to give them a strong visual and message: while the world can be a scary and challenging environment, it can’t be fixed with anger or antagonism but rather with positivity, and way more hugs.

The message to youths was that anything can be accomplished rather than setting limits to it.

The 24-hour conference featured speakers and workshops, and students from around the province attended.

Junior Leadership ConferencePonoka Secondary Campus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ponoka County wants more information prior to approving permit

Council not satisfied, wants better details about work site and other issues

Ponoka County, Rimbey approve recreation deal

Agreement worked out as part of ICF negotiations

Ponoka wilderness survivalist takes on ‘Alone: The Beast’

Show premieres Feb. 13, episode featuring Edwards airs Feb. 20

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Canada’s flag was flown for first time 55 years ago today

The flag is used to celebrate wins in sports, honour Canada Day, and flown at half-mast after tragedy

No shirts, no city services: Firefighter calendar too steamy for Ontario officials

The city has never funded the calendars, but has OK’d photoshoots at city-owned properties

CFL teams under the microscope after free agency begins

While some big names remain, here’s what lies ahead leading up to next month’s CFL combine in Toronto

Most Read