Friday, May 4, 2018

"If I can inspire one, and they can inspire another, soon we'll inspire a thousand." Shaquem Griffin, Seattle Seahawk

Inspiration is a funny thing.  Sometimes a story hits you smack in the face, inspiring you when you did not even know how much you needed that lift!

Such is the story of Shaquem Griffin, a young man who had his left hand amputated as a child because of a rare disease that stunts the growth of the hand called amniotic band syndrome. Per the several interviews I watched, this young man never let the loss of his hand interfere with the activities he wanted to pursue. Shaquem became a true standout athlete in several sports, and played football at Central Florida University.  Last week, he was chosen in the NFL draft  by the Seattle Seahawks, and he will play on the same professional football team with his twin brother, Shaquill, who was drafted by Seattle last year. I was thrilled for him - and I don't even know him!  Imagine the pride his parents are feeling! 

This could be a Disney movie - but wait!  It gets better! This young man is a fantastic role model! 

Because of Shaquem's positive attitude and strong work ethic, he is now inspiring others with his same rare condition to chase their dreams.   Here is the link to a touching conversation to Shaquem from a young girl regarding her dream:   

Shaquem is not just inspiring kids with who are afflicted with amniotic band syndrome, he is inspiring many others with physical challenges. Kids are taking a look at him and telling themselves that if Shaquem can overcome his problem, they can, too.   Take a look at this link:

And last, I think Shaquem is inspiring all of us to do our best, even if we do not face the physical challenges he faces.  To see someone overcome adversity is inspiring, and I believe that his positive attitude and personal triumph make all of us work a little harder.

One more thing- the press has not done much with Shaquem's own words, but here is his letter to the NFL GM's,  which is straight from his heart.  It is a great read! 

I am thrilled that young people have a real hero to emulate in Shaquem Griffin.  Cheers to Shaquem Griffin and his upcoming success on the field and in Life. 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

Connect with Dede!

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