Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Have a Little Hope, Proser

For some of us, language and reading come as naturally as breathing, as a fish swimming, or as anyone with double X chromosomes craving chocolate...

But for some of us, language and reading don't come easily at all.

With school starting soon for everyone, I thought I'd share a tale near and dear to my heart, and hope it gives a little courage to kids who struggle (whatever their struggle may be), and to parents who worry about and fiercely love those kids.

Once upon a time there was a cute (and I do mean cute) little boy with white blond hair and root beer eyes. Before he was one year old, he babbled and knew a plethora of baby signs. He loved to point to pictures in his storybooks as mom and dad read to him.

Sometime before he turned two, he stopped looking at mom and dad. He fixated on drawing tiny, perfectly formed circles. He stopped talking. Speech therapy followed, and occupational therapy, and lots of tears from mom and dad and boy. But finally, after years, something clicked and the little boy began to speak.

When the little boy was five and six and seven, and ten, he struggled with his letters. Written words didn't make any more sense to him than spoken words had a few years earlier. His mind wandered. He doodled pictures. The parents met with teachers to find out what they could do to help this incredibly creative, incredibly unique child fit into the world. Intensive classes followed to train his eyes, his hands, his mind. There were lots of tears from mom and dad and boy. But finally, after years, something clicked and the boy began to read.

This past summer, this not-so-little boy who had once struggled to look people in the face, to speak his thoughts, and to make sense of words on the page, has devoured (and would recommend to all the guys out there):

Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
Hive by Mark Walden
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Daniel X series by James Patterson
The Monster Hunter International series by Larry Correia

This summer he also finished his first 100 page novel, which his friends are wild about. He is head of social media for his school's ASB. He is generous, hardworking. loves to crack jokes, and is still incredibly, creatively quirky.

There have been, and still are, miracles in his life (and I offer my sincere gratitude to my Heavenly Father for them). Whenever it seemed he stalled out in his progress or faced insurmountable problems, people or programs were put in his path to help him overcome them. But one of the biggest miracles in his life has been his own perseverance through tears and frustrations and feeling like there was no way he could do it.

So, to kids who struggle (whatever your struggle may be), you can overcome. You can persevere. You can make today a little better than yesterday, and tomorrow a little better than today.

And to parents who worry about their kids, whether you are just starting the parenting journey, or are many years into it, you know your child better than anyone else in the world. You are your child's best advocate. As you seek out opportunities to help your child, answers will open to you. Today can be better than yesterday. Tomorrow can be better than today.

Young or old, I hope you take the opportunity to make the most of this school year before you.


  1. Thanks Susan. I really needed this.

    My seven year-old doesn't like reading, and of course I'm worried even though I was the same at her age. It's just that reading is so important, and I want her to love to read so bad. And it doesn't help that all I hear from other parents is how much their kids her age love to read and are reading on a fifth grade level or higher.

    I really needed to know that other kids struggle too. So thank you for sharing. :)

  2. That was really beautiful, Susan. Even though none of my children struggle with this exact issue, I needed the reminder that the issues they struggle with are not static. Things can get better. Thank you.

  3. Indeed, what a lovely story. Thank you for sharing it with us.


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