The message is the same: a dyslexic child CAN be successful if we remove our preconceived notions, meet the child where he is, and embrace the uniqueness. I hope this letter I wrote to my son, Matthew, upon his high school graduation, gives you HOPE for your child’s happy ending or rather, beginning. (Many of you may recognize this letter from a previous post.)
I will never forget…
I will never forget all you taught me.
I will never forget your brilliance, your keen sense of awareness of the world around you, or your uncanny capacity to empathize with others who might be hurting.
I will never forget your superior creativity – your ability to turn envelopes into Christmas Trees, paper towel rolls into robots, and spoken words into beautiful sayings like “Life is like salsa – it’s a little bit spicy and a little bit hot.”
I will never forget your ability at 5 years old to understand vocabulary that even high school students would have difficulty grasping.
I will never forget your ability to figure out complicated math problems that your older brother and I were struggling to figure out for hours.
Nevertheless, I will never forget how you struggled to learn to read and write.
I will never forget how “ordinary” and “extraordinary” methods did NOT work.
I will NEVER forget how you could not unlock the code despite my efforts, my expertise, my education level, my knowledge base, my teacher training, and my endless research!
I will NEVER forget how you shattered my confidence in my abilities as a teacher.
YOU, my dear son, BECAME THE TEACHER. You humbled me, you educated me, you freed me from my “preconceived notions and rigid pedagogical belief system” — and for that, I will forever be grateful.
It was not until I stopped trying to fix you and just accepted who you were, which by the way was much quirkier, and beautiful, and wonderful, than what I could have ever hoped to craft. Yet, it was more than mere acceptance. It was when I honored who you were, who GOD created you to be, and who you hoped to become, that we could move forward and work from your many passions and strengths. Then. You. Soared.
Look at you now – my dear, energetic, creative, brilliant son – you are off working at a full-time job for our town doing what you love to do. (You got this job one week after you graduated!) You are working outside fixing roads, shoveling snow, and cleaning parks.
Look at you now – you are the owner of Boo Wood Industries, LLC! You are making beautiful wooden creations, going to craft fairs, and art shows, and meeting so many different people. You even have your own checking account!
Look at you now – you did this in ONLY 18 years, and I cannot wait to see what you will accomplish in your lifetime.
Look at you now – you surpassed all the odds and defied all the expectations. Did you not hear them, or did you simply choose not to listen? I think it was the latter.
Look at you now – you did it!
Thank you for teaching me what “grit” really looks like; thank you for teaching me what faith truly is; thank you for being my greatest teacher; thank you for being my inspiration.
Now go, and inspire the world.
Love you forever,
AKA your humbled teacher
While I thought that was the end of my journey, it was only the beginning of my crusade to help educate parents and children about dyslexia. Nevertheless, what is most rewarding, and what I thank GOD for every day, is the privilege I have of teaching dyslexic students about the uniqueness of their superpowers.
And as for Matthew, the guy with these superpowers, well, his journey, has only just begun.