Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Joy for the Rainy Days

In conversations about education, we sometimes get so caught up in the details that we forget the joy.  Sometimes we need a reminder from the kind of people who exude love of life and learning.

Ishbel Ross wrote a beautiful biography of Helen Keller, called Journey Into Light. Though doubly handicapped, Helen became an international figure before the age of radio or movies. During an age where few traveled, let alone single, blind females, Annie Sullivan and Helen went around the world to find the best teachers.

Though born in Alabama, Helen was taught to speak and 'hear' by Sarah Fuller in Boston, Ma. Miss Fuller taught Helen to speak by showing her how to touch another's mouth, nose, and throat at the same time with three different fingers on one hand. 

I am unable to comprehend the scope of imagination and determination this woman possessed. But I am even more convicted by her joy for life in spite of literal total darkness. 

Ishbel Ross says, "She found Franklin D. Roosevelt an ideal subject (for lip reading by vibration). She caught Mark Twain's best jokes by vibration. With her fingers on his lips Enrico Caruso 'poured his golden voice' into her hand. Feodor Chaliapin shouted the 'Song of Volga Boatman' with his arm encircling her tightly so that she could feel every vibration of his mighty voice. Jascha Heifertz played for her while her fingers rested lightly on his violin. She read Carl Sandburg's verses from his lips and old plantation folk songs from the rim of his guitar." 

Most moderns won't even recognize the names of these national treasures, let alone teach our 'healthy' children with full faculties to appreciate these artists' contributions to mankind. We need to follow Helen’s example of reading Braille until her fingers bled and needed to be wrapped in silk so that she could read some more.  

People like Helen remind us why we work so hard and so intentionally to disciple our children: so that they can experience the sense of wonder that comes from seeing the order in God's creation and using the talents He has given each of us.

1 comment:

Kerry said...

I'm sorry this comment is totally off the topic of your post, but I just wanted to say "thanks" for linking to me in your sidebar blog list. I've added you to mine, too! I'm also adding you to my google reader.