Thanksgiving Day 3

Gray. Wet. Cold. Sounds muted by the constant drizzle outside the window.  The kids and I finished up our lessons, ate a bite, snuggled up and settled down in the family room for an afternoon of reading. I chose Helen Keller.  Completely captivated by her story, they refused my stopping until we turned the last page.

As a result, I am prompted to give thanks for many things.  The use of all five of my senses, first of all.  Try as we might, we found ourselves unable to empathize with Helen Keller.  We closed our eyes, but we could still perceive light.  We put our fingers in our ears, but we could still hear our hearts beating.  We put our hands over lips to discern words, but it was so obvious to each what the other said.  Besides, our fingers don’t know how to read lips.  The world we live in is neither dark nor silent, and we cannot even pretend it well.

I am thankful for books and libraries.  Helen’s passion to learn is inspiring.  Once she understood Miss Sullivan’s method of teaching, once she had her first taste of acquiring knowledge, Helen didn’t want to stop learning.  The only problem was that there were so few resources in braille or raised letters.  We are not limited in that way, however.

After I closed the book, my children wanted to know more.  We exhausted what I had on-hand: the biography, our history books, and the World Book Encyclopedia; so, I turned to the computer.  With a few clicks I had more information about Helen Keller than I could shake a stick at.  I even found footage from the 1930’s of Keller and Sullivan demonstrating how Helen learned to speak.  I am thankful for the internet — it is a wonder.

I am also thankful today for teachers who give so much of themselves for their students.  Helen Keller lived an amazingly active and productive life.  As an adult, she did so much good for people with disabilities.  She would not have been able to do so, however, without Annie Sullivan.  No obstacle was too great that Miss Sullivan would not find a way for Helen to surmount it.  She gave her life to see Helen succeed.  Some teachers, like Miss Sullivan, become surrogate parents because the actual parents simply are not fully equipped or trained to deal with a disabled child’s constant needs.  Those kinds of men and women are rare and very special.  The tireless efforts of Annie Sullivan in the life of one Helen Keller have made the world a better place for deaf and blind people around the world over the past 70+ years.

I am thankful for cold and rainy days that lend themselves to warm blankies on the couch and reading aloud.

7 Comments on “Thanksgiving Day 3

  1. Great post, Leslie! There are indeed so many wonderful things to be thankful for. I’m glad you had such a special afternoon with your kids. I imagine times like that of learning together can be rare, too.


  2. Leslie,
    Oh, read aloud time is one of my favorite times of the day! I can just picture all of you snuggled up and enjoying this amazing story. Biographies often inspire gratitude, and I’m thanking God with you for the many gifts you mentioned.

    By the way, I came across some of your reviews on Discerning Reader. So looking forward to reading more of them. 🙂


  3. Leslie, Thank you for the sweet reminder of a story I grew up with. How blessed your children are to have a momma who reads such wonderful literature to them.
    I too am thankful for our senses. My brother in law is blind from birth and I always wonder how he “sees” things in his minds eye. His hearing is extraordinary though. I can identifiy car engine types on the freeway!


  4. That just makes me tear up – and the video is amazing. Calvin has a learning delay but I have found someone who is teaching me to teach him – and it is so much work (not as much as Annie Sullivan though!) But it does make me thankful when I see progress in him, knowing that he can do so much more than I thought he could.


  5. Leslie, you guys can’t be too far from Tuscumbia? Your kids (and you guys!) would absolutely love it! The summer is great for the summer outdoor play 🙂

    Love this post and the things we so easily take for granted. It’s those things that we are born with that we assume to be present with us the rest of our lives while others never even know the blessing that comes with something like hearing or eyesight.


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