This is a story about hope, potential and how no-one should ever be written off as a failure.
There was once a girl, in about 1980, sitting in a classroom, staring blankly at the board, head so full of dreams and ideas that she could not summon to focus to command her hand to write.
While the other children sat on the carpet, she was left at her table, to listen to the other children enjoy the teacher’s attention. So, this girl learnt that she was a failure, that she was lazy; words that began to slowly eat away at her sense of self whilst corroding her confidence.
This girl ate slowly, and possessed the type of social and physical clumsiness that led her to be bullied and whose peers fought not to have in sports teams. Many years later this girl learnt a new word, dyslexia, but no one knew how to penetrate the mist of anxiety and self-loathing to find the brain that lurked beneath.
Well-meaning teachers offered help, but she did not have the understanding to know how they could. Others excluded her, sitting outside the head’s office or even an Educational Psychologist suggesting she avoids writing altogether.
If I could say one thing to that girl, it would be stay strong and keep faith, that things will change; everyone learns in their own way. I would say in 2019 you will hold a first-class degree in psychology, one day you will be studying for a Master’s degree, not only heading for a first, but a few days away from an interview for a PhD. That over time she will find people who make her feel safe, cherished and enable her to grow into a strong, funny, much loved woman who has further unknown adventures to follow. She would hear that she will not always feel fearful; one day you will stand in front of audiences, talking about your journey, knowledge and making them laugh with poetry and stories you wrote. That the skills, abilities and talents will one day shine through in a positive spiral that will bring to blossom new and wonderful achievements.
So, this is a story about patience, the gift of further education in later life and a request that no-one should be written off. It is a plea for the child who is slow, who is bullied, who is robbed of their natural right for confidence that people view these children with compassion. That the child who is not achieving, who may appear lazy, who may be struggling through a fog of self-hatred, fear and sadness that leaves them paralysed in thought and deed. I would pray that others do not react with the kind of anger that drives a miserable child deeper into the fog, but with patience that will allow the sunshine of confidence to shine through. Above all, don’t write them a future of failure and rejection, but let them pen a future of potential, persevere and above all personal worth.
Article By Victoria Bristow