A powerful example

April 8, 2014

Young people often set examples without ever even knowing they’ve struck a chord or made a lasting impression with those with whom they’ve come in contact with day in and day out. Such is the case with 8-year-old Ashir Muhammad, interviewed recently for a story that ran in our Sunday Sampson Independent and posted online at

Ashir was born missing his left forearm and hand. Some would consider that a detriment to the things they might want to do in life. Not Ashir. Instead he’s made that the catalyst for success in everything he works to accomplish.

Unlike many adults who look for any excuse not to work, not to play sports, not to give it their all at whatever they might want to accomplish, Ashir takes the high road, never looking back, and should he stumble, he’s the kind of youngster who picks himself right back up, dusts off and tackles the challenge again — head on and smiling.

Ashir’s philosophy is simple but powerful: “You can’t miss what you’ve never had.”

Mull on those words, then apply them to whatever you might consider your handicap in life. If you don’t have as much money as someone else, make good use of what you’ve got; if you’ve never been able to sing or write or draw, look for something you do well and hone that skill; if you think you’ve not impacted someone in life, join a civic club, volunteer at an assistant living facility, the local hospital or the recreation department. The list could go on.

Rather than looking for a reason to miss something you’ve never had, find your strengths and use those to make a difference. That’s what Ashir has done in his short eight years of life, and he’s already touching lives just by his positive attitude, his willingness to work hard and his determination to be the very best he can be at whatever he sets out to do.

Jerry Herring, a referee for Clinton’s Recreation and Parks Department, can attest to the impact young Ashir has had on him as he watched the young man run up and down the basketball court, sinking 3-point shots on the one end and fiercely guarding a competitor on the other.

In our interview with Herring, he talked emphatically about the impact young Ashir had on him personally and he stressed the impact he saw on those in the stands watching the young man play.

It didn’t take long, Herring said, for spectators to stop looking at Ashir as the boy missing an arm, seeing instead an inspirational young man who was out there giving it his all each and every time he stepped on the court.

Ashir is a two-sport athlete with the Rec Department, having played football and basketball this year, excelling in both.

But it’s far more than his athletic prowess that makes Ashir an example for others to follow — it’s his determination, his zest for life and his ability to look beyond what many might consider a disability to all the things he can do rather than the very few, if any, that he cannot achieve.

We thank Ashir for the example he is setting at a very young age, and we encourage him to keep on being that positive role model, a young man who believes in his ability and understands that with work and determination you can achieve anything.