Mom Son Graduation LRN LAF LUV LIV LYF Learn Laugh Love Live Life

Kissing the hand that feeds you

posted in: Inspiration 0

There are several heartwarming themes in this story. There is the theme of a son persevering to overcome challenges. A theme of a mother helping her son. Themes of achieving a goal and of celebrations. And a theme of gratitude. All of these reflect the wealth, the worth, and the beauty in LRN LAF LUV LIV for LYF.

The story begins with Marty O'Connor, an athletic and active young man of 22 years, who fell down a flight of stairs in 2012. The fall left Marty paralyzed from the neck down.

He dedicated himself to physical therapy five days a week to begin rehabilitating his body, an important part of improving and valuing oneself (LRN and LUV inward). But physical therapy and physical strength could only do so much, and he could not change the fact that he would remain a quadriplegic.

He recognized he needed to become more mentally fit (LRN and LUV inward). As Marty recalls, "While my body was in a better place because of (physical therapy), I was just kind of lost. ... I needed that mental challenge and wanted to add some professional value to myself."

He began exploring MBA programs to challenge himself (LIV inward). But he knew that without help, he could not make this goal a reality.

Enter his mom, Judy O'Connor, who was working as a teacher in Florida. She moved to California to help her son (LUV outward) enroll in the MBA program at Chapman University. She attended every class with Marty, took his notes, and served as his hands for handwritten tests.

In May 2017, Marty achieved his goal and celebrated his graduation (LAF inward).

At the graduation ceremony, right after Judy wheeled her son to the stage and he received his diploma, the speaker at the ceremony made the following announcement:

"We now have a special individual who the faculty, the administration, and the Board of Trustees have decided to honor with an honorary MBA degree. Mrs. Judith O'Connor has attended all the classes with her son Marty who just received his MBA. She has taken notes and worked with Marty throughout his academic career. At the suggestion of her son and with the support of the relevant bodies, we are honored to award an honorary MBA to Mrs. O'Connor."

The occasion was so touching, the speaker was overcome with emotion.

Watch the video of the awarding of the degree to Marty and the honorary degree to Judy.


It is special that his son wanted to recognize his mother for all of her devotion and help to make his graduation possible. This shows his gratitude for everything his mom did for him (appreciation and the value of gratefulness is a part of LAF). In Marty's words, "I was just so excited for her because she deserved it so much."

Kudos to a son for appreciating his mom. Kudos to a man facing the challenges, improving himself, and valuing himself. Kudos to a mother for empowering and nurturing her son. And kudos to Chapman University for agreeing to honor Judy.


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