Sunday, August 11, 2013

Helen Keller, a lesson in optimism


 After learning of Gertrude Bell, I started seeking out more female role models that are not necessarily talked about in your average history class. Then I started reading more about the ones who you may have heard about: Helen Keller, Amelia Earhardt, Sacajawea…. History is full of inspiring stories beyond the generic template lessons we learn in school.

I just finished Helen Keller’s short essay, Optimism, which is available for download. I recommend everyone read it. [It’s free, you have no excuse].

If anyone seemed to lack the tools to be optimistic, it would seem Helen Keller, for certain. Yet, she writes an essay all about the need; indeed, the practicality of optimism.

She points out that all progress is powered by a will that things can be better, a presumption of accomplishment. She believed that “optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” She points to the history of our nation…the history of anything, really. No idea can be carried out without optimism.

Being blind and deaf, it is for sure that the people around her, aside from her parents, weren’t too optimistic that she would do anything significant. But her parents didn’t treat her as a victim. They treated her just as if she were a normal child, with high expectations.

Reading not only about her successes, but her attitude makes me more than a little guilty about my whining when things don’t go my way. She overcame more than I ever will and kept a positive attitude as an adult. When she was very young, she describes her early schooling;

The few signs I used became less and less adequate, and my failures to make myself understood were invariably followed by outbursts of passion. I felt as if invisible hands were holding me, and I made frantic efforts to free myself.”

How often do we feel that way, despite having full use of all of our hearing and speaking? Can you imagine how hard it was for her?

But free herself, she did. It was all in her attitude.


No comments:

Post a Comment