[nobe-l] Get Perspective. Change your life for the better

Dr. Denise M Robinson deniserob at gmail.com
Tue Dec 13 17:30:46 UTC 2011

Get Perspective. Change your life for the better

Teaching hundreds of students over the past decades has always been
exciting. However, when you teach a child with exceptionality, a common
“unhappy” phrase comes up over and over. “I want to be like everyone else
and I do not want to be different”. I always tell them that the person who
is different is the one who typically makes the biggest difference in the
world. Then I go on to tell them about some of the people who are different
and made life better for all around them due to their hard work and vision
of “what if”. It does not take them long to figure out, that special or
different can be and usually is a “great” thing, though it will take many
reminders along the way of their education.

I want to give them perspective so I begin telling them about the
“different” people who made life better for those around them and affected
the future of all. It takes a change of mindset and hard work.

Alexander the Great, born in 356 BC was a strong and powerful king of
Macedonia, the northern part of Greece. At the age of ten, he calmed and
tamed a wild horse that no other could. His understanding of not just
animals but people would give him the courage to conquer the world.
...literally. Aristotle was one of his teachers in his academics, which was
a great contributor to how he thought about life. There were constant
threats and attempts against his life because he was the successor to the
throne. He had to overcome fear for his life constantly to move forward. He
conquered the majority of the known world at that time and established a
common language. Alexander’s joining the world together had even a greater
impact several hundred years later when Christ was born. With the majority
of the world joined together now with a common language, Christianity was
able to spread like wild fire and bring the message of hope and peace.

In 1732, George Washington was the first born of 10 children. His schooling
ended in his early teens and he was not good at reading or languages. He
got his first job at 16 and became a surveyor: Saved his money and
eventually started to buy his own land. He became president through taking
on one major job after another and advancing in skill….a lot of hard work.
Now think about his health. He was very athletic, but started losing his
teeth in his 20s. Through present day laser technology, his past teeth were
examined and they were not made of wood, but the dentures were made from
gold, ivory, lead, human and animal teeth (horse and donkey teeth were
common components). Think of the incredible pain of going through a
toothache in that day and age, all the way to losing a tooth, or having it
pulled with no painkillers. He was only 45 when he was at Valley Forge
fighting battles in the freezing cold and with frozen limbs, but became
President at 57. This was someone different who worked very hard to get
where he was.

Abraham Lincoln, born in 1809 was poor and worked very hard on the farm as
well as took outside jobs to help support the family. The family moved into
the wilderness of Indiana and cleared the land to make it their own. Life
was hard but made Abraham strong. There was no schooling in the area, so
his mom taught and gave him books and the gift of learning and reading. His
mother died in his teens and his father remarried with a woman who had
three children of her own. He continued to work hard and try many different
types of jobs until he decided to get into politics at the age of 25. He
suffered from depression and had a difficult marriage. As he grew in ideas
of right and wrong in the developing nation, he had his share of great
opposition but continued to fight for what he believed was right. One of
many famous sayings, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”
permeates through what we do today if we want to create a strong team or
ideal. Think of his trails along the way, failing to win major offices but
finally becoming president only to have states secede from the union…war,
the hatred against him, the failed assassinations until a final bullet
killed him. Health along the way was impaired by almost drowning, being
robbed and almost killed, domestic violence from his wife, dentist broke
off part of his jaw while taking a tooth, without anesthesia, malaria,
frozen limbs, speculation of syphilis and Marfan syndrome, and more, all
based on notes from people who lived with and around him. Hard work enabled
him to abolish slavery and make a huge impact on mankind and human rights.

Born 1869, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and later named *Mahatma* Gandhi
meaning “great soul” became the father of peaceful protest. During school,
Gandhi had difficulty with math and was a mediocre student in general. He
often ran home in fear of other children making fun of him. He was married
at age 13 years old. He was greatly fearful of the dark and could not even
tell his child bride as he tried to figure out how to be the authority in
the family. He was a rebellious teen, trying meat several times, which is
forbidden by Hinduism, stole money and lied. When he told his father, whom
he expected to be violent, instead he wept and this changed Gandhi forever
as he explained, “Those pearl drops of love cleansed my heart, and washed
my sin away." Gandhi’s father died when he was sixteen years old. He tried
college but struggled and did not like it so dropped out. A friend finally
convinced him to go to England for a law degree so he could return to India
and help in politics. He left his wife, child and family behind. On passage
to England, he was shy because he did not know English well to speak it,
nor knew how to use a knife and fork so did not eat with anyone.  Indian
friends in England took hold of him and guided his progress while there. He
became a “dandy” of high society and eventually decided he disliked all the
pretentious living, so ditched all the expensive surroundings, dancing and
parties and got down to studying law. He decided he wanted the character of
a person, not the look. Food continued to have a hold on him, testing and
stopping dainties. Through this struggle, he finally proclaimed, "the real
seat of taste [is] not the tongue but the mind."—he fought for that and
became more austere in his pursuits of life. Because he changed his mindset
and determination to do good, he easily passed the bar and set sail for
home. When he returned home, he could not find a job. Gandhi did menial
tasks for his relatives and the British and grew to hate the arrogance of
them. An Indian firm finally hired him to go to South Africa for a huge law
case. He left his family again and in Africa, found himself, his philosophy
and his following. There he met great prejudice and persecutions that would
change his and millions of other lives forever. Gandhi knew he needed to
change men’s minds about themselves before change could be made on the
outside. Through his practice, he learned it was far better to have people
reach agreements, than crushing them. He began working for compromise and
rights of his people. It took decades of brutal harm on the Indian
population and himself from the British.  In 1948, he was shot to death
pursuing peace. Gandhi often said that if cowardice is the only alternative
to violence, it is better to fight. He fought hard through peace to make a
difference in the world.

Albert Einstein was born in 1879 in Germany. Einstein had difficulties in
school, especially with his teachers who criticized him and his way of
learning. “He later wrote that the spirit of learning and creative thought
were lost in strict rote learning.” Without completion of a formal
education, he began to write his beginning theories on the magnetic
field.  After
restarting school several times and sitting for exams, he failed in all
areas of study except physics and math. Later on, despite receiving a
teaching degree in physics and mathematics he could not acquire a job, so
went to work as an assistant in a patent office. After work, he constantly
wrote about some of his greatest ideas. Many scientists in the field of his
day openly disagreed with his theories. Continued hard work in the field
proved him correct. He won the Nobel peace prize in 1921. Constant hard
work and diligence toward his areas of interest and strength, Einstein is
known all over for his intelligence and theory of relatively and great
contribution to making this world a better place to live. Through constant
hard work and perseverance, his theories proved to be correct and the past
teachers who told him he was unimaginative and unintelligent proved wrong.

Billy Graham, born in 1918 on a dairy farm, learned how to work hard. His
father forced his sister and Billy to drink hard liquor until they vomited
which created an aversion to drugs and alcohol. Now picture him giving his
life to Christ at 16. How many times was he called a Jesus freak or beaten
up for his beliefs? But Billy Graham kept fighting the good fight of faith
to show people the love of God. He published over 30 books and was
nominated the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World" from the Gallup Poll
since 1948 a total of 54 times, including 48 consecutive years -- more than
any other individual in the world, placing him at the head of the overall
list of those most admired by Americans for the past four decades. Goal in
life: "My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal
relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ." He
struggled with health issues later in life he began to lose vision and
hearing but his strong faith endures forever and he knows that where he is
going will be the reward for fighting on here in this world. Hard work and
belief in God made him different but he affected and changed the world for
better through diligence and hard work.

There are so many more people that could be mentioned on this list, so pick
people relevant to your child. Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Pope
John Paul, Roosevelt’s, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and too many to name, but
in the reality of over 7 billion people in the world, the ones who made the
greatest changes are few, but they were *different* and worked very hard to
make change. Being different is a good thing and is a necessity if you want
to make a change in your life, but more importantly in the lives around
you. Help your child or yourself in your difference. Your difference could
mean the greatest reward of all to so many.


Denise M. Robinson, TVI, Ph.D.
CEO, TechVision
Virtual Instructor for blind/low vision
Email:  yourtechvision at gmail.com <deniserob at gmail.com>
Website with hundreds of informational articles & lessons all done with
keystrokes: www.yourtechvision.com <http://yourtechvision.com>

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