David and Leah Bultema, with sons, Nolan, Glavine, and Maddux
Growing up, David’s childhood was similar to that of many American families. His parents were blue collar workers who had enjoyed their share of success, as well as their share of struggles. But they were determined to provide a solid stable home for their family. It was an environment that should have encouraged David to follow in their footsteps and become a solid contributor to society. However, regardless of the experiences presented to him, David's perceptions and responses focused on the negative, which then resulted in a lack of success and a low satisfaction with life.
David’s GPA halfway through high school was a 1.6. He had allowed life situations that were outside of his control to negatively affect other aspects of his life.
“I let one tough situation control me, which then turned into multiple other tough situations. I always made excuses about why it wasn’t my fault. My perspective was all wrong."
Until one day, when David had a defining moment.
“It was time to make a choice. Either continue living with nothing but a negative perspective and keep making excuses, or get the job done with a positive perspective. No more excuses! I just decided that regardless of the situation, there were only two options - do or don’t. I was ready to do it.”
And do it he did.
Fast forward six years and David was no longer a struggling high school student. Instead, he had become a very successful college baseball pitcher, had met the woman who was to become his wife, and had graduated from college with a 3.47 GPA.
After graduation, he found his calling in education, where he continues to mentor students in the classroom as a teacher, as well as on the baseball field as a coach. In 2014, he was named Teacher of the Year by his peers. Life was good for David, his wife and two young sons. He had clearly transformed his life, leaving the disillusioned, sullen teenager behind by focusing on his positive experiences, allowing his dreams to become his reality.
But before he turned thirty five, David’s life would be turned upside down, multiple times, shaking his belief in the power of positive thinking. Tragedy struck his family repeatedly, including the death of his mother, his father, and his son Aaron.
Within months of celebrating the impending birth of their third child, David and his wife learned that Aaron, their unborn son, was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder with an extremely high mortality rate. “I thought back to when I was in high school and I made a decision to never make an excuse, to figure out a way to make any situation a positive one. Even though I had to come to grips that Aaron would never have the same opportunities as my other sons, it didn’t mean he wasn’t going to have opportunities of his own.”
With overwhelming support from family, friends and a close knit community, David and his family persevered through the passing of his son Aaron, when his wife was 34 weeks pregnant.
David continues to persevere through life’s many challenges. He now helps to inspire others as an example of GRIT, the ability to work through any situation that life tosses your way.
Do you need AaronStrong?