Thursday, January 6, 2011

Epiphany: Be The Gift You Give


3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or 
commonplace occurrence or experience.

4. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, 
such a moment of revelation and insight.

I have skipped the first two meanings because, though they are relevant to the word, they are not relevant to my post.

This post contains a personal short personal story:

I grew up dyslexic. It was possibly a mild condition; I don't know because where I lived, no one tested for anything like that. All I can be sure of is that I was one of millions of undiagnosed kids who struggled with reading. I was slow to learn to read. I was a terrible speller. When I wrote, I would skip or reverse words. When I read aloud, I would skip or reverse words, lines on the page would bleed together, my eye would skip suddenly to the next paragraph. I am a musician, and so my reading challenges reside in that skill set, also. My scores of complex music are often littered with pencil markings that roadmap for my eyes what I am meant to see, rather than fall into the trap that my dyslexic perception will lead to.  

This condition did not stop me, I am happy to report. My mother was personally involved in making sure that I learned to properly read. We read at home after school all through third grade, when my teacher noticed that I was behind the rest of the class. One day, the key went in and turned all the tumblers, and even though I still struggled, at times, a love of reading caught at me, like a fire. That was an epiphany time for me, if not a moment, then over the course of months. When that fire started, nothing could keep me from reading, and soon, despite my struggles, I was reading books ahead of my age group. I ended my high school years as an Advanced Placement student of English. I am a college graduate and a published author. I can swim with words; I do not drown.

I now have children of my own. When they turned three, I started to teach them how to read using the book Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons. They did not show symptoms of dyslexia. One was a little slow to get started and is a poor speller--this is not a huge problem. The kids love to read, and they love to express themselves in writing. I could not ask for anything more.

Being out of work at the moment, I have offered more volunteer time at my kids' school, helping in one of the third grade classes with reading skills, one-on-one with a few students who are struggling.

Then, on the school yard, one morning, a friend casually mentioned that her son is having reading trouble. I said, oh. She said, yeah, he is dyslexic. I said, oh. Well, she said, we have him working with a tutor once a week, and it is helping but... I said, you know, I am dyslexic; if you want, I would be willing to work with him. She said, wow (probably because my admission caught her off guard), hmm... well, I'll think about it. I said, I hope you consider it; tutors are great, but sometimes that isn't the same as sitting down with someone who has been there.

I did not expect to have it come up again. You know, whatever the situation, sometimes people feel funny about accepting help from people they know.

But, today, my friend came to me after school and said, I want to talk to you.

She took me up my offer. We talked about arrangements and such. She said, I really appreciate you doing this. I said, in this world of budget cuts and program elimination and such, where we can, we need to help each other. She nodded and said, if there is any way I can pay you back, let me know. I said, hey, if not for me, for someone else--when you find a place where your gift will fit, give it there. We are all supposed to do for each other where the need is.

She said, wow, I wish there were more people like you.

That was an epiphany moment for me, and also a coming full circle. There are more people like me out there. You, for example.

I invite you, on this first day of Epiphany and, indeed, for the rest of your life, to be the gift you give. Be there for someone in need. Volunteer. Share your creativity with the world. Smile. 

You are a gift and you have at least one gift to share (if not an array of talents)--and the world needs you!

1 comment:

  1. Your story somehow pinched my heart. Offering what you can do to someone is always a good thing. I mean helping, in general, touches people.

    You are a nice person. You will be blessed.