Blind speaker from Otis encourages audience to ‘believe in what you can’t see’
To learn more about Landan Schaffert or to have him come speak at your organization, visit his Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/motivationalspeakerlandanschaffert/?fref=nf">Facebook page, by searching for Keynote Speaker Landan Schaffert.
You’d never guess that people told him he couldn’t do something — mostly because he always did it, anyway.
And you’d never guess that the loss of a close friend is what caused him to stop feeling bad for himself.
Schaffert spoke to a crowd Thursday morning at the Colorado Farm Show at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley, sharing how he overcame his blindness and instead propelled his life forward toward his dreams.
While his vision isn’t completely dark, Schaffert can only see large shapes, and he can see and sense movement.
Despite being born legally blind, Schaffert developed a love for farming, inspired by his family’s farm in Otis.
Schaffert is now a high school teacher in rural Colorado and takes every opportunity he can to speak about overcoming obstacles.
In his senior year of high school, Schaffert received a Boettcher Scholarship, which is a merit-based scholarship for Colorado residents. Later, he served in state and national FFA offices, before pursuing his interest in politics.
He interned with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and with Colorado Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling.
Someday, he hopes to run for Congress himself. With a laugh, he said he’d make a good congressman because all of his speeches will be off the cuff since he can’t read the teleprompter.
Even when people said he couldn’t, Schaffert pushed himself to do more.
Schaffert said shortly after he was born, his parents noticed that there was something wrong. They took him to the doctor, who said he was born legally blind. That was the start of believing in what he couldn’t see.
The doctor told his parents three things. First, the doctor said, Schaffert would never be normal. He likely wouldn’t read or write. And he probably wouldn’t amount to anything. But his parents didn’t believe that.
“They believed in what they couldn’t see,” Schaffert said of his parents. “They believed in future that was bright for their son.”
He remembers when he was really young being a happy kid, but always with one thought tugging at his heart.
“Why me?” he’d ask. “Why was I the one chosen to bare this burden?”
That attitude continued until third grade, when his friend, Michael, died suddenly over the weekend.
Sitting at the funeral, in his little kid mind, he was struck by the amazing life Michael had led.
“He was positive. He was optimistic,” Schaffert said. “He never looked down on the hard times he had in life. He looked forward to the opportunities.”
Schaffert said that experience sticks with him even today because it was then that he realized, that while he couldn’t physically see, in other ways everyone faces a similar challenge.
“We’re all blind in a certain way,” Schaffert said. “We don’t know where the next step is going to take us.” ❖
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