My daughter was in Year 10 at High School. Her life had to then been dogged by her dyslexia.
Despite our best efforts to convince her of her many talents she had decided she must be dumb. Any suggestions at school that she attend special education classes were rebuffed because, in her estimation, that would confirm that she is 'dumb'.
She battled her work - and her teachers - at High School. When it came to examinations, she would struggle with the wording of questions, thus putting her behind the eight-ball in writing answers. Her Maths teacher, seemingly the only teacher who understood and empathized with her dyslexia, unexpectedly offered to read her the questions (not help with the answers of course). The result? A previously unheard of B for Maths and great was the family sharing of her celebration. The gesture of one thoughtful teacher had, perhaps for the first time in my daughter's public life, unlocked her stifled right to enjoy life to the full, she could now start to believe in herself and her abilities, dismissing finally any self-perception of being 'dumb'.
I could of course not allow this wonderful event to go by without contacting and thanking the said Maths teacher. I phoned the school and vividly recall, when I asked to speak to him, receiving a very guarded 'why?' from the receptionist who had long been the gatekeeper, fending off irate parents for teachers. The surprise in her voice was obvious when I replied . . . 'I want to thank him'. 'Ohh . . . of course . . . just a moment', she responded and put the call through to the teachers' common room. The teacher came on the line with the same sense of caution, knowing only that a parent was on the line. I said I wanted to speak to him about my daughter's maths result (yes I was playing it a bit foxy in anticipation of what I wanted to say). 'I just want to thank you for reading the questions to my daughter for her maths exam. Not only did she get a B but you have no idea of the positive impact your action has had on my daughter's self-belief and hopes for her future. 'My wife, my daughter and I all sincerely thank you'. I loved the way his voice lightened as we went on to engage in a lovely chat about mutual interests. Like the fabled policeman, a teacher's lot is, too often, not a happy one.
My daughter's struggles with dyslexia continue to this day. However, she is now a life-experienced fully-qualified Family and Youth Care Worker who believes in herself, exudes genuine self-confidence, has helped and continues to help many people in her professional and personal life and is happily married with four magnificent children.
Doing something positive to help a person will make you feel good. Of far greater importance however, it might just be the trigger to change the life of the person you helped and, through their renewal, impact positively on the lives of hundreds of other people.
'You can bring peace and happiness to people you will never meet, yet in the silence of their contemplation, they will thank you, over and over again'
Extract from Peter Nicholls' book, 'Enjoy Being You'
Written by Peter Nicholls
Peter is Australia's People Gardener (growing better people) and is an Adelaide-based Lifestyle Mentor. His latest book . . .'The Hunger to Grow' focuses on his special area of interest, helping people turn their dream second half of life into a reality.To learn more about the work of Peter and his latest book, please visit his website at . . . Australia's People Gardener >>>
The Power of One Gesture appears in InspirEmail No 315 - June 2017