We Need A Hero
It has been a long journey with many winding roads that led me to where I am today. As a child I always knew that I was different from my peers. At times I would be proud of not fitting the mold of normality but I also had my fair share of grief.
I don't remember much of my first years at school, or learning the alphabet. Except for all the images: an Apple, A Ball, a Cat, a Dog, an Elephant and a Frog. I remember I was always feeling exhausted after school and I often felt lonely.
I made it my mission to hide all my inadequacies and flaws from my peers and family. I hated reading in front of others, could not spell to save my life, had trouble pronouncing and hearing certain words and sound, and Math was a language I just did not understand. No one likes to admit that they have flaws. So I did my utmost to cover up my struggles.
At times I felt so lost and misunderstood. I was so desperately hoping for someone to take note of my continuous battles. Someone who could understand me and how I saw the world. Someone that could notice I had a different learning style and who had the courage to ask me how they could help me. If there was just one person who would ask me to let them into my world, I would have invited them in gladly. But when you are one of 30 students in a classroom, in a time when Dyslexia and other learning differences were not really understood, you cannot blame them for overlooking me.
So, I soldiered on and I put in extra hours just to try and keep up. I asked a lot of questions but soon I noticed how my classmates roll their eyes every time my hand went up to ask another question. So I stopped asking questions and resorted to trying to figure things out for myself. Soon it all got too much and I found comfort in my fantasy world where the characters of my stories would be my companions. I unburdened my emotions onto paper and hid it away from everyone. I would sometimes go back to read some of my poems. In certain places my spelling would be so bad that not even I could make out what I wrote. But I did not care. Because this was my world and I made the rules.
What I really needed was a crusader that could change the way society saw us. A hero to speak out about the many talents and gifts that people, like me, possess. And an intuitive soul that would stop, take notice and be courageous enough to step into our world and our way of thinking. To bridge that gap and realize that there is not just one way of learning. Not just one way to see a situation. Not just one way of teaching. Life is a multifaceted, multi sensory learning experience that is ever evolving and should not be placed within the confinement of obstructive boundaries and paradigms.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if not for the dreamers, the abstract thinkers and the risk takers that helped shape the world we live in today. Many of them had the same struggles that I had. And in many of these cases, they had one person who dared to believe the opposite. Who stood up and decided to change the norm. Their passion, dedication, love and interest raised people we admire today, for being different.
Rocket man - Inventor of Rocket Powered Vehicles
He became interested in rocketry when he was given a chemistry set as a child.
As a child, Rocket man struggled in school. He dropped out in the ninth grade after years of instantly forgetting whatever he learned and being called “stupid” by classmates. He didn’t learn to read and write until he was in his 60’s. It was only later in life that he realized that dyslexia was the cause of his childhood difficulties.
Despite his struggles with literacy, Michaelson has a “mechanical photographic mind.” He can envision and build complex projects in his head. He is the founder and leader of the Civilian Space eXploration Team, who were the first group to officially launch an amateur rocket into space.
After Thomas Edison’s school teacher called him addled or mentally ill in a letter, Edison’s mother hid the letter from the young inventor and home-schooled him so that he could reach his full potential.
After many year, Edison’s mother died and he was now one of the greatest inventors of the century. One day he was looking through old family things. Suddenly he saw a folded paper in the corner of a drawer in a desk. He took it and opened it up. On the paper was written: Your son is addled [mentally ill]. We won’t let him come to school any more.
Edison cried for hours and then he wrote in his diary: “Thomas Alva Edison was an addled child that, by a hero mother, became the genius of the century.”
Leonardo da Vinci
Artist, Inventor, Scientist, Engineer and Writer
Leonardo da Vinci had many talents. He also had interesting habits, like writing backward, spelling strangely and not following through on projects. Today, we understand that these traits can all be characteristics of dyslexia and other learning and attention issues. For example, his ability to create imaginative drawings is a strength shared by some people with ADHD. Whether or not he had learning and attention issues, Leonardo used his strengths to earn a place as one of history’s greatest geniuses
Alexander Graham Bell
Bell reinvented the field of communications by creating the first telephone. But years earlier, he struggled in school. Even though he was gifted at problem solving, it’s thought that he had trouble reading and writing, possibly as a result of dyslexia. He was eventually home-schooled by his mother. With her help, Bell learned to manage his challenges. And he went on to change the world.
William Butler Yeats
Poet, Playwright - Nobel Prize in Literature (1923)
"I was unfitted for school work, and though I would often work well for weeks together, I had to give the whole evening to one lesson if I was to know it. My thoughts were a great excitement, but when I tried to do anything with them, it was like trying to pack a balloon in a shed in a high wind"..