Attitude is Altitude

Attitude Is Altitude

Imagine having no arms to stretch in the morning, to help you scratch that itch, to allow you to wrap your arms around your loved ones. Imagine having no legs to kick pebbles down the street, to walk or run, to bicycle or skateboard, or get you from point A to point B. Then imagine both at once, which is what Nick Vujicic has faced his whole life. Have you heard something like this before?

Nick Vujicic was born with no arms or legs - but he doesn’t let the details stop him. The brave 26-year-old - who is mainly torso - plays football and golf, swims, and surfs, despite having no limbs.

Nick has a small foot on his left hip which helps him balance and enables him to kick. He uses his one foot to type, write with a pen and pick things up between his toes.

‘I call it my chicken drumstick,’ joked Nick, who was born in Melbourne, Australia, but now lives in Los Angeles. ‘I’d be lost without it.

"If you can't get a miracle, become one." ? Nick Vujicic

Due to his faith as an Evangelical Christian, Nick has chosen to remain a virgin until marriage although he has had long-term girlfriends in the past.

'He's very modest but he gets marriage proposals from women all the time,' said Nick's friend and publicist Steve Appel, from Los Angeles.

'He would love to get married and start a family but he's waiting for the right girl to come along.'

Water sports aren't Nick's only thing - he also plays golf with a club  tucked under his chin, and is a huge fan of the English Premier League.

His parents decided not to send him to a special school - a decision he said was very hard for him, but which may have been the best decision they could have made for him.

When Nick was born his father was so shocked that he left the hospital room to vomit. His distraught mother couldn't bring herself to hold him until he was four months old.

His disability came without any medical explanation - a rare occurrence called Phocomelia - and Nick and his parents spent many years asking why this cruel trick would happen to them. 'My mother was a nurse and she did everything right during pregnancy but she still blamed herself,' he said.

'It was so hard for them but right from the start they did their best to make me independent.

 'My dad put me in the water at 18 months and gave the courage to learn how to swim.

'I also got really into football and skateboarding. I totally love the English Premier League.'

 Nick's father was a computer programmer and accountant and he taught his little son how to type with his toe at just 6 years old. His mum invented a special plastic device that meant he could hold a pen and pencil.

Despite the risk of bullying, his parents insisted Nick attended mainstream school. 'It was the best decision they could have made for me,' adds Nick, who later achieved a degree in Financial Planning and Real Estate. 'It was very hard but it gave me independence.'

Nick, who was teased and bullied, had an electric wheelchair for mobility, and a team of carers to help him.

'I was deeply depressed when I was eight years old,' he said. 'I went to my mum crying and told her I wanted to kill myself.

'I felt cold and bitter. I hated God for doing this to me and was terrified of what would happen when my parents weren't there to look after me.

'I could brush my own teeth with a wall mounted brush and wash my own hair with pump action soap, but there was so much that was impossible for me.'

At age ten Nick tried to drown himself in the bath but luckily the attempt was unsuccessful. 'I felt there was no purpose when you lack purpose and strength it is hard to hold on,' he said. But with the help of his religion, friends and family, Nick managed to pull through to become an international symbol of triumph over adversity.

'When I was 13 I read a newspaper article about a disabled man who had managed to achieve great things and help others,' said Nick.

'I realised why God had made us like this - to give hope to others. It was so inspirational to me that I decided to use my life to encourage other people and give them the courage that the article had given me.

'I decided to be thankful for what I do have, not get angry about what I don't.

'I looked at myself in the mirror and said: 'You know what the world is right that I have no arms or legs, but they'll never take away the beauty of my eyes.' I wanted to concentrate on something good that I had.'

"The challenges in our lives are there to strengthen our convictions. They are not there to run us over", said Nick. In 1990 Nick won the Australian Young Citizen of the Year award for his bravery and perseverance.

'When kids run up to me and ask 'what happened?' I just lean over and whisper 'cigarettes', he laughed.

'And once I was in a car and a girl at traffic lights was giving me the eye. She could only see my head so I decided to do a 360 in the car seat to freak her out. 'Her face was like woooooooah what is going on? She sped off really quickly.'

Nick began travelling the world and in 2008 he went to Hawaii and met surfing master Bethany Hamilton, who had her arm bitten off by a shark when he was 12.

'She was amazing, said Nick. 'She taught me how to surf and I was terrified at first, but once I got up there it felt absolutely fantastic and I caught some waves pretty well.' Nick quickly learned how to do the 360 degree spins on his board - a feat that got him on the cover of Surfer magazine within 48 hours. 'No one has ever done that in the history of surfing,' he said.' But I have a very low centre of gravity so I've got pretty good balance.

Nick‘s visit of India Nick in electric wheelchair

He has visited different countries all over the world. The football fan is now a motivational speaker and has travelled to over 24 countries speaking to groups of up to 110,000 people.

He moved to Los Angeles two years ago and plans to continue to travel the world – this year he will visit South America and the Middle East.

"If I fail, I try again, and again, and again. If you fail, are you going to try again? The human spirit can handle much worse than we realize. It matters how you are going to finish. Are you going to finish strong?" said Nick

'I tell people to keep on getting up when they fall and to always love themselves,' he said.

'If I can encourage just one person then my job in this life is done.' - Daily Mail

Glossary

skateboard (n)
: a short narrow board with small wheels at each end, which you stand on and ride as a sport
surf (v)
: to take part in the sport of riding on waves on a surfboard
torso (n)
: the main part of the body, not including the head, arms, or legs
chicken drumstick (n)
: the lower part of the leg of a chicken or other bird that is cooked and eaten as food
club (n)
: a heavy stick with one end thicker than the other
propeller (n)
: a device with two or more blades that turn quickly and cause a ship or an  aircraft to move forward
adversity(n)
: a difficulty or unpleasant situation
perseverance(n)
: the quality of continuing to try to achieve a particular aim despite difficulties

Comprehension
I. Answer the following questions.

1. "I call it my chicken drumstick." joked Nick. What does 'it' refer to? How does it help him?
A. 'It' refers to the Nick's small foot on his left hip. It helps him to balance and enables him to kick a ball. He uses this foot to type, write with a pen and pick things up between his toes.
2. "His parents decided not to send him a special school." Was Nick happy about his parents' decision? Why or why not? What do you think about this decision?
A. Nick was happy about it. He says that decision gave him independence. I think it was a wise decision.
3. How did Nick's parents help him to become independent?
A. Nick's father put Nick in water at the age of 18 months to make him bold. His mother made a special plastic tool that helped Nick hold a pen and pencil.
4. Pick out the symptoms of Nick's depression. Do you think his depression was normal or something unique about him? Give reasons for your opinion.
A. Nick told his mother that he wanted to kill himself when he was eight. At 10, he tried to drown himself. As a torso, to feel depression is quite normal.
5. Which incident in this text is funny? What makes it funny?
A. Once Nick was in a car and a girl at traffic lights was giving him the eye. She could only see Nick's head so he decided to do a 360 in the car seat to freak her out. When she saw the torso, she sped off really quickly. The girl's first impression on Nick and her later reaction make the scene funny.
6. What made Nick choose Bethany hamilton to learn surfing?
A. Bethany Hamilton became an amazing surfing teacher though a shark bit her arm off when she was 12. Nick liked her positive attitude and her amazing skills. So he chose her as his teacher.
7. Which aspect of Nick's physical condition helps him to do 360 degree spin?
A. As he has no limbs, he has a very low centre of gravity. That helps him do 3600 spin with ease.
8. What are the distinct features of this text? List them.
A. The text has a quite good number of distinct features. The foremost one is its inspiring content. Nick's skills and qualities are just amazing. Quotations and crisp sentences render strength to the presentation. Ideals are presented in a very gripping manner. Humour too gets its own place.
9. What do you learn from the life of Nick Vujicic?
A. Nick Vujicic's life offers many lessons of great value. First, I learn from Nick how to be positive. I understand from him how to be bold in difficult situations. I also pick up from him the qualities of determination, perseverance, sense of humour, generosity, faith in God, love for fellow human beings, etc.
10. Why do you think that Nick's depression was normal? Give reasons for your opinion.
A. I think it is normal because today we see thousands of people feel so sad though they have everything one needs. For a torso, to feel depression is quite normal.
11. Describe any two incidents which state that Nick has a very good sense of humour.
A. i) He called his small foot on his left hip as a chicken drumstick. ii) He tried to frighten a girl who was giving him the eye at traffic lights by doing 360° spin.
12. What qualities have made Nick a great person?  
A. Positive attitude, determination, courage, perseverance, etc. made him a great person.
13. What are the exceptional ability of Nick?
A. Nick plays football, golf, swims and surfs despite having no limbs. He types, writes and picks things up.
14. What is Nick's opinion about his marriage?
A. Due to his faith as an Evangelical Christian, Nick has chosen to remain a virgin until marriage.
15. What were Nick's parents? How did they feel when Nick was born?
A. Nick's mother was a nurse and his father was a computer programmer and accountant. When he was born his father left the hospital room to vomit and his mother couldn't bring herself to hold until he was four months old.
16. What was Nick's disability?
A. Nick was born without limbs. His disability came without any medical explanation - a rare occurence called Phocomelia.
17. When Nick was 13, an incident inspired him. What was it (Or) What changed Nick's life, when he was 13?
A. A newspaper article about a disabled man who had managed to achieve great things and help others inspired Nick and changed his life.
18. What did Nick decide to do after reading the article? (Or) What change in Nick's attitude did the article bring?
A. Nick decided to use his life to encourage other people and give them the courage the article had given him. He thanked God for what he had instead of complaining about his disability.
19. How did Nick get him on the cover of Surfer magazine?
A. Nick did 360 degrees spin on his board within 48 hours. No one has ever done in the history of surfing. So he got him on the cover of Surfer magazine.
20. How does Nick inspire people?
A. Nick tells people to keep on getting up when they fall and to always love themselves. He says that human spirit can handle much more than we realize. It matters how we finish.
21. What is the aim or goal of Nick?
A. As a motivational speaker his job in his life is done if he can encourage just one person.
22. Can you name the other persons who have reached great heights despite their disabilities?
A. Stephen Hawking, Helen Keller, Sudha Chandran, Wilma Rudolph, Louis Braille, Glenn Cunningham, Thomas Alva Edison are some of the persons who have reached great heights in their lives despite their disabilities.
23. What is Nick's message to people?
A. When you fail in something, try again and again. Human spirit can handle worse situa-tions successfully. It matters how you are going to finish.
24. What is the similarity between Nick and Bethany Hamilton?
A. Nick didn't have any limbs by birth. Bethany Hamilton lost one arm to a shark. Both are physically disabled. In spite of the disability, they were successful because of their strong will.
25. What made Nick's father leave the hospital room to vomit?
A. Nick was born without arms and legs. This made him leave the hospital room to vomit.
26. Which article gave courage to Nick Vujicic?
A. A newspaper article about a disabled man who had managed to achieve great things and help others gave courage to Nick Vujicic.
27. What did Nick try to do when he was ten?
A. When Nick was ten, he tried to drown himself in the bath but luckily the attempt was unsuccessful.
28. What do you know about Bethany Hamiltion?

A. Bethany Hamilton was a surfing master. She had her arm bitten off by a shark when she was 12. She was amazing.

II. Given below are some of the statements made by Nick Vujicic. Which of these are substantiated by Nick’s life?
• If you can’t get a miracle, become one.
• I realised why God had made us like this - to give hope to others.
• I wanted to concentrate on something good that I had.
• I tell people to keep on getting up when they fall and to always love themselves.
• If I can encourage just one person, then my job in this life is done.

All the above sentences are substantiated by Nick' life.

Vocabulary
I. Look at the list of adjectives in the box. Which of them describe Nick Vujicic. Write (Y) against them.

positive
Y
cowardly
arrogant
negative
courageous
Y
sarcastic
optimistic
Y
reliable
Y
quarrelsome
pessimistic
independent
Y
rude
generous
Y
dependent
Y
creative
Y
nervous
obedient
Y
stubborn
confident
Y
trusting
Y
lazy
smart
Y
valiant
Y
pompous
sociable
Y
self- centered
level-headed
Y

Pick out from the text the examples that support these attributes.

Sl.No.
Attribute
Example from the text
1.
Positive
In spite of his disability he has become great.
2.
Optimistic
Nick always hoped that everything will be alright.
3.
Generous
Nick decided to give hope to others.
4.
Confident
Nick was able to do many things.
5.
Smart
Nick was very intelligent. He has beautiful eyes.
6.
Sociable
Nick was interested to spend time with others.
7.
Courageous
Despite his condition, he took bold decisions in life.
8.
Reliable
We can trust him. He is very reliable.
9.
Independent
Nick’s parents helped him to be independent.
10.
Dependent
As he has no limbs, physically he should depend on others.
11.
Obedient
Nick obeyed to his parents, teachers and situations.
12.
Trusting
He believed his fellow beings.
13.
Valiant
He is very bold. He is interested in swimming and surfing.
14.
Creative
He thinks differently and creatively.
15.
Level-Headed
Nick is calm and sensible.


II. Given below are words that describe the positive or negative attitude of a person.
Discuss them with your partner and write (Y) against the positive qualities and (N) against the negative qualities.


sullen
N
imaginative
Y
slovenly
N
sneaky
N
observant
Y
obnoxious
N
exuberant
Y
enthusiastic
Y
stingy
N
bossy
N
outgoing
Y
idealistic
Y
cautious
Y
haughty
N
affable
Y
aggressive
N
intrepid
Y
logical
Y
competitive
Y
malicious
N
mean
N
finicky
N
meticulous
Y
cultured
Y


III. Tick (..........) the word / expression which is nearest in meaning to the word underlined in each sentence given below.
1. Water sports aren't Nick's only thing - he also plays golf with a club tucked under his chin.
a) kept                  b) pushed           c) covered           d) tied
2. His distraught mother couldn't bring herself to hold him until he was four months old.
a) angry                b) careless          c) shy                    d) anxious
3. Despite the risk of bullying, his parents insisted Nick attended mainstream.
a) discrimination               b) humiliation    c) negligence     d) beating
4. Nick, who was teased and bullied, had an electric wheelchair for mobility, and
    a team of carers to help him
a) socialising       b) movement    c) travel                d) safety
5. Nick managed to pull through to become an international symbol of triumph over adversity.
a) disability         b) poverty           c) difficulties      d) opposition
6. The challenges in our lives are there to strengthen our convictions.
a) feelings           b) practices         c) beliefs              d) characters

IV. Read the following descriptions about persons and fill in the blanks with the words that match with these descriptions.
boorish                 extrovert             meticulous          suave                    placid obnoxious
timid      compassionate                                 malicious             introvert

  1. Ashok is a very unpleasant and rude fellow. I don't talk to him. He is BOORISH.
  2. Srinu is very confident, elegant and polite. But sometimes he does not appear to be sincere. He is SUAVE .
  3. Sujatha is quiet and calm. She doesn’t like to spend time with others. She is interested in her thoughts and feelings. So she is an INTROVERT.
  4. Ramesh is very sensitive. He always shows sympathy on people who are suffering. He is COMPASSIONATE.
  5. My neighbor is such a person that he has a feeling of hatred for others. He desires to hurt other’s feelings. He is MALICIOUS.
  6. My father pays careful attention to every detail. He makes thorough planning for everything in our home. He is METICULOUS.
  7. Prem is an extremely unpleasant person. He always tries to offend people. He is OBNOXIOUS.
  8. My mother is very calm and peaceful. She doesn’t get excited or irritated easily. She is PLACID.
  9. Rahul is a very lively and confident person. He enjoys being with his friends. He is an EXTROVERT.
  10. Sridhar is always afraid of speaking in the class. He is TIMID.

Grammar
I. Defining and Non-defining Relative Clauses
Let us read the following sentences.
1. The woman who taught him surfing had been bitten off by a shark.
2. Nick, who was teased and bullied, had an electric wheel chair for mobility…..

What difference do you notice between sentence (1) and (2)? In sentence (1) the relative clause defines the woman. It is a Defining Relative Clause. In sentence (2) the Relative Clause adds extra information about Nick. This is a Non-defining Relative Clause.

A Non-defining Relative Clause is preceded and followed by a comma or a hyphen.
eg. The brave 26 year old – who is mainly torso – plays football and golf, swims and surfs.

  1. Read the text again and identify some more Defining and Non-defining Relative Clauses.
  1. _______________________________________________________
  2. _______________________________________________________
  3. _______________________________________________________
  4. _______________________________________________________
  5. _______________________________________________________

  1. Read the following sentences and circle the Non-defining Relative Clauses and put a comma / a hyphen wherever necessary.
1.       The meeting which was held in the town hall was a great success.
2.       The people who live in glass houses must not throw stones.
3.       Teachers who have taught Abhiram say that he is an exceptionally creative student.
4.       Nepolean who won the French honour died at St. Helena.
5.       Silk sarees which are made in Banares are popular all over the world.

  1. Complete the sentences with Defining or Non-defining Relative Clauses.
  1. This is the peaceful place _____________________________________.
  2. ‘Mahaprasthanam’ is a popular book _____________________________ .
  3. Suresh ___________________________ has left the school just now.
  4. Is this the street ___________________________________________ .
  5. The express _________________________________ has just arrived.
  6. The place ___________________________ has been closed to traffic.
  7. This is a famous engineering college ___________________________ .
  8. My sister_______________ has secured a job as an engineer in BHEL.
  9. The theatre ____________________________ was designed by Mr Rao.
  10. Viswanath is one of the outstanding directors in Telugu film industry________________ .
For answers and more explanation CLICK HERE

Writing
Writing a biographical sketch
A biographical sketch is an account of the life and activities of an individual. It includes information about the person’s name, place of residence, education, occupation, life and activities and other important details. It is written by another person. If a person writes an account of his/ her own life, it is called an autobiography.

Given below in the table is the biographical information about Stephen Hawking.
Based on this information write a biographical sketch.

Stephen Hawking

Points to be covered
Details of the person
Date and place of birth
January 8th,1942, Oxford England
Information about the family
• Eldest-one of four sons
•Mother: Isobel Hawking
•Father: Frank Hawking, a medical researcher with a specialty in tropical diseases
Important events in life






Sclerosis
• Early academic life: recognized as a bright student
• High school years: third from the bottom of his class
• Pursuits outside of school: loved board games, constructed a computer out of recycled parts at the
age of 16, solved rudimentary mathematical equations
• Marriage: married Jane Wilde
• Health: Suffered Amyotrophic Lateral
• Research: on black holes
• Invention: Hawking Radiation
Awards, prizes, honours
• Fellow of the Royal Society at the age of 32
• Albert Einestein Award.
• The Pius XI- Gold Medal for Science from Pope Paul VI in 1975.
Contribution to his field and society
• Contributed to the advancement of science and research

For answers and more explanation CLICK HERE

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