Words of Wisdom

"Children are wise little Buddha’s—and the true teachers of life.”

Judy Winter



Look Closely

A Poem by Eric Richard Winter


I hold in my hand one intelligent,
helpful, handsome, musical, creative,
brave, charming, courageous,
adventurous, strong, friendly, hopeful,
forgiving, humble, expressive, tolerant,
ingenious, modest, open-minded,
generous, sensitive, eager, happy, loving,
appreciative, committed, dreamer, bright,
social piece of myself. If you look
closely, you can see it.

Eric wrote this poem about himself with the assistance of his paraprofessional in 2001.



Jenna's Poem

In My Dreams (Eric) by Jenna Marie Winter

In my dreams, I saw my brother walk.
He chased me around the house,
His cerebral palsy gone.
He talked to me about the things we’ve missed
Over the years.
It was nice to hear his voice,
His real voice,
For the first time,
And we conversed till midnight.
He yawned and told me to take him outside,
Down to the pond.
We caught frogs by flashlight,
But they wiggled out of his small, inexperienced hands.
He giggled with delight,
Told me that he liked the way that they felt.
I gave him a ride back up to the house,
His sleepy head bobbing up and down
On my shoulder.
I slipped him into bed,
Covered his brand new body,
His brand new strength.
As I looked down at him,
He opened his eyes,
And he smiled up at me.
I smiled back tears
That threatened to fall as,
He told me that he loved me.

Written at age fourteen by Eric Winter’s incredible big sister. Third-place award, National Society of Arts and Letters Poetry Contest 2000. From Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs: Raising the Bar of Expectations by Judy Winter/Copyright 2006. Permission to reprint any part of this poem must be made from the publisher (Jossey-Bass/Wiley & Sons).



“If I hadn’t known Eric, I would have been like a lot of other people in this country who think that people with disabilities are just a nuisance. But they’re not. Eric was extremely intelligent and a nice guy—and I got to know him pretty well.”


“Eric has changed my life greatly. He’s taught me to look at kids, not by how they are different, but by how they are just regular people, even if they do have a disability. I will never forget him.”


“Eric was a good friend. He was a smart kid who always had a smile on his face. Eric always treated other people like he wanted to be treated.”


“Eric’s smile brightened everyone’s heart on a really bad day. I wish people who didn’t know Eric would have looked past his disability and they would have found what many of us found, a young man with great talent.”


“What can you say about someone so special? Even with the disadvantages of cerebral palsy, Eric was so much fun to be with and he loved to have fun. And his smile was so perfect.”


“Eric was special to all of us. He was probably the hardest working kid I have and ever will see. When you saw his face, you knew he was determined. I think I was truly blessed to be one of Eric’s best buddies. He taught me the true meaning of strength and courage. Eric and his family will always have a special place in my heart.”


“You touched our lives in many ways.
Yes, made many people change.
You helped us to understand,
What a life is worth.
You tried your best
You worked so hard.
Some might think it wasn’t worth it.
I think it was.
For all those lives you changed.
You were smart,
and we saw that.
You weren’t any different
From your fellow classmates at our school.”


“I knew Eric for three years and it was the best time of my life. He was more than just a kid. He was more than just a friend. He was my best friend and I will never forget him.”


“How often do you see pigs fly?
Over the moon and throughout the sky?
How often do you see a shooting star
Which seems so near, but is very far?
How many times have you seen an angel
Walk through the night
Blinding the world with his shining light?”


“Eric was an angel who flew too close to the ground and landed in a chair…”