Molly showed me this story a while back. It touched me. It's the way others should be looking at those with special needs--in terms of ability. I don't mean to ignore a disability or challenge and not address it, but to not always look at the individual as deficient. God made him or her, and He has a purpose in that creation. We should be looking at how that purpose can be fulfilled rather than writing them off.
Take a look ...
D Is for Dyslexia
"What is your name, son?"
My new teacher was seated behind his desk, looking down at my report card. He'd know my name from looking at my records. He'd know I was the dumbest kid in the school I went to last year—and other bad stuff.
He reminded me of a pinkish balloon about to burst. The odor of aftershave and tobacco surrounded him.
"I asked you to tell me your name," he said again.
He smiled. " It says here that you like music."
For an instant, he looked almost human. He was buttering me up before he asks about my grades in reading and spelling.
"My name is Mr. Bradley. I'll be your homeroom teacher this year. I like music, and I'd like to hear about your music. Do you play an instrument?"
"I play a little guitar—piano. Don't read music."
"You play by ear then?"
I'm almost twelve. I pictured a kid about my age hitting the piano keys with his left ear. I tried not to laugh but a giggle came out anyway. I do that when people say funny things. He chuckled like he knew what I was thinking.
"I meant that you don't read music," he said. "Do you think up tunes in your head?"
Only it wasn’t sometimes. It was all the time. Songs come to me when I carry out the garbage for Mom, pretend to listen when people talk and when I look out a window during class.
Why wasn’t Mr. What's His Name asking about my grades like any other teacher would? Something strange was going on.
"It says here that you're good at drawing and storytelling."
That did it. Real teachers didn't say things like that. I glanced toward the door in case I needed to make a quick escape.
This guy was a monster pretending to be a teacher and probably ate kids like me for breakfast. At any moment, he'll ask me to step in his time machine hidden in the back of the schoolroom somewhere--zap me to his planet. When he does, I'll make a run for it.
"Daniel, do you like to draw pictures and make up stories?"
"Tell me about it."
"Why?" I can’t believe I said that.
He laughed again. Only this time, he threw back his head and laughed so loud I expected him to fall out of his chair. This guy was even crazier than the other kids said I was. I turned to go.
"Please, don’t leave. I have a few more things to say."
He sounded nice—not so much like a monster. Still, for all I knew all monsters were like him. This could be a trick to get me to go in that time machine. Nevertheless, I stopped and looked back.
"I’m asking you all these questions because I was just like you when I was a kid."
"You’re a teacher. You couldn’t be like me."
"Because you’re dyslexic?"
He said the D word. I tremble when I hear that word. But not as much as when I hear the R word. Retarded.
"I'm a dyslexic, too," he said. "I couldn’t read or spell. I went through exactly what you’re going through when I was a boy."
"But you’re a teacher."
"Teachers are smart," I reminded him.
"You’re smart, too--talented besides. During this school year, you'll learn how smart and talented you really are." He grinned again, reminding me of my grandpa. "Welcome to the sixth grade. By the way, I’m not a monster. But I look kind of like one, don’t I?"
"How did you know. . . .?"
"I thought my sixth grade teacher was a monster, too. He wasn’t. He liked all the kids in the class because of who we were and not because we could read and spell. He told us that we would learn to read and spell, and he was going to teach us how to do it."
"You bet—but it took a while."
I took another look around the schoolroom. Since I didn’t see a time machine or a small space ship stashed anywhere, I decided to stay and talk to my teacher. I wanted to ask him about his music and if he liked to draw and tell stories.
Somehow, I had a hunch he did.
Other posts you might like:
The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities—A Review
Meet Molly Noble Bull: The Dumbest Kid In Her Elementary School--by Molly Noble Bull
The Gentle King—by Monika Holt
Molly Noble Bull was born in Kingsville, Texas. She married her college sweetheart, and they have three grown sons and six grandchildren. Check out her blog Writer’s Rest. She also co-authored the non-fiction book The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities.