When we first meet John introducing himself (at age 40) on stage to an audience of teenage youths, we have no clue to his physical condition until he mentioned about his 'multiple-congenital amputee'. He was born without arms and hands, no knees and upper legs. If you miss the PBS showing of this film, go to the official site at "wmht.org/getoffyourknees" - you can watch online the video (whole 60 minutes) and get to appreciate what John went through, his family doubts about his future yet amazed by his relentless tenacity in overcoming his physical shortcomings (pardon the pun) and with creative solutions undeterred by daily challenges. His open attitude in life along with his sense of humor facilitate ease for others interacting with him, including on the golf course. To him, his goal is to lead an 'ordinary life' as everyone else would without being constantly mindful of the limb shortness. As his daughter Ariel simply mentioned that her Dad is just like any other Dad but shorter, and there are certain things he can't reach. That's all.
We are fortunate that WMHT television director (also writer, producer, editor and camera) Dan Swinton delivered this documentary of John Robinson Story accessible to wide audience (PBS and beyond). The online web site provides: Discussion Guide with notes & comments by Robinson and Swinton, a Disabilities Self-Awareness Survey, Facilitator and Question lists; Resources and related community links; preview selections or watch the video itself; Photo Gallery; Media press release synopsis; info on available DVD of the documentary and John Robinson's autobiographical book "Get Off Your Knees: A Story of Faith, Courage and Determination".
Hearkened back to DH Donald's "Lincoln" (same page 15 of Preface), his 'pragmatic approach to problems, a recognition that if one solution was fated not to work another could be tried.' You can see that illustrated in John Robinson's account of how he tackle his daily routines and being 'comfortable with uncertainties.' We can see he truly enjoys the life he leads and family and friends, against all odds. No regrets. Why the title 'Get off your knees'? The anecdote is included in the documentary, and amusing, it is.
There are two other inspiring documentaries caught on PBS which are worth mentioning: "The Way Bobby Sees It" and "Life. Support. Music." The former is about Bobby McMullen, a mountain biker who's determined to take on a challenging downhill course race, even though he's 'legally blind' - a fascinating intense account of fearless human strive by directing team of Jason Watkins and Wendy Todd. The latter is yet another encouraging life-affirming chronicle of the family of Jason Crigler, a talented musician-guitarist-composer, unswervingly stood by Jason in spite of the grim prognosis after his unexpected brain hemorrhage life event, how persistence of a unified force & caring support miraculously pulled him through it all - it is moving at times even suspenseful, comprehensively directed by Eric Daniel Metzgar.