Elizabetharnold Many people succeed in spite of difficult odds and circumstances. How often have you read about a young person being the first individual in their family to attend college? I was watching the “Chopped College Championship” the other day and there was a young man who didn’t make it to the finale, but was the first person in his entire family to attend college. He was a very proud student and the assistant who helped the mascot for the teams in Miami, Florida. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman in the United States to receive a medical degree. Originally born in the UK, her father moved his family to the United States in 1928. When a close female friend was dying, her friend had said she wished she had a woman doctor as she would have been made more comfortable during her last days. She inspired Elizabeth to begin pursuing a medical degree. She worked hard to earn the money and succeeded. She was also the first woman medical doctor in the UK Medical register. In spite of all the odds first of being a woman, second earning the three thousand dollars, which was a great deal of money back then, she earned her medical degree. Over the course of history, there have been countless people who have escaped prisoner of war camps, countries ravaged by war, abusive situations, being kidnapped, and riots. Often in spite of all odds people recover from grave illnesses, being told they would never walk again, being discriminated against and still succeeding, and moving to new countries with nothing but the clothes on their backs and still becoming a huge success. Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived in the United States with a duffel bag. He broke into movies, and eventually was the Governor of California.  There are times when people lose hope because their lives are so difficult.  However, those who do beat the odds and end up turning their lives around.  I have heard people use the words in spite of in ways that are snide and rude.  For example, “In spite of your complete lack of education, you have managed to succeed’ or In spite of having no money and what I consider breeding, you managed to snag a rich husband.”  Yes I have heard people say those very words.  They had no concept of real manners and class themselves.  Countries torn apart by earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and fires, the people in those areas in spite of all odds of those that survived rebuilt their communities. The residents in Pecos survived in spite of all the odds and built a solid town.  It is a great series that gives children a chance to see that being kind, helping others, and working together, makes good positive things happen.