Helen Keller and the miracle walker
Helen Keller was a pioneer advocate for disabled and marginalized people across the world. As the world concludes the Paralympic of 2021 (24th August to 5th September 2021), we must salute the dedication and hard work of these great athletes. The history of the Paralympic started well before the first one took place in Rome in September 1960.
I started to think about the pioneers like Helen Keller and the challenges she faced many years ago during the Paralympics and her campaign for the disabled people. Helen was born in Alabama, USA in 1880, became sick at the age of 19 months old. That sickness left her blind, deaf and unable to speak. This being the later part of the 19th century, things were tough and disabled people were even more disadvantaged than today.
This would have probably signaled the end of her contributions to humanity, but she had great parents who went to great extent to help her. They even contacted the great Alexander Bell ( the inventor of the telephone) who recommended a special needs teacher. A remarkable 20 year old teacher named Anne Sullivan. That teacher changed the life of this remarkable lady.
Anne Sullivan taught Keller to communicate with the rest of the world. It was not easy teaching a child with such challenges in the early 1900’s.
Keller overcame many of her challenges she faced. She travelled around the world and met leaders of her time. She not only wrote 14 books, made several speeches and became an advocate for the disabled people. She lived a full life until her death in 1968 at the age of 87.
The lesson from both Keller and Sullivan is really about perseverance. To get to the point where Keller could communicate took a lot of hard work and the link below will take you to the scene captured in the 1962 film called the ‘Miracle worker’.
In the movie, Keller was frustrated with the teacher brought to help her, so like all great teachers, Sullivan tried everything. This was new territory for her as well. A lot of work had to be done to turn things around. Like all entrepreneurs, if you don’t succeed at first, just keep trying. I am not sure many of us will have the patience, perseverance to keep trying faced with those challenges.
Here is another part from the film about how breakthroughs can really happen if you keep going.
I hope none of us will face the same challenges as Helen went through, but even if we have to, the end more than justified the means in this case. Both Keller and Sullivan will be remembered for their grit and determination to overcome challenging circumstances. Keller died over 50 years ago, but we will remember her for eternity.
We must be ready to rise above our current circumstances.
Our legacy becomes more important than what we have today.