When I was a child, I tried really hard to do well at school. It didn’t come to me naturally. I loved art and english but found everything else incredibly boring. But math, math was one of those subjects that had me totally freeze. It may as well have been in an entirely foreign language. The teacher would call out my name to give an answer and my mind would just go blank. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not access what they were talking about it. So for a long, long, long time, I believed I was stupid. I couldn’t write my b and d like the other kids. I still have to really think about it. When I write or type, I do most numbers and letters backwards. Today they call it dyslexia.
Everything changed in grade 9. I had a gentle, kind and caring math teacher. Her name was Mrs. Whitton. When she looked at me, she didn’t see a stupid young woman. She saw someone full of possibility and saw that her job as a teacher was to unlock my learning style. So she took me home and tutored me, patiently learning how I learned. She made her way into my world and got me to a place of calm clarity where I could approach numbers with curiosity rather than terror. And soon I became one of the top students in my class. I later went on to do my Master of Business Admin degree and market research which focuses mainly on understanding and working with numbers.
I tell this story often to young people whom I meet who struggle because their learning style is different and our education system calls them disabled and makes them wrong for being different. I just watched Scott Sonnon’s TEDx talk and although my issues were not nearly as severe as his, I am grateful that there are others out there embracing the difference that we be. That we are finally learning that rather than trying so hard to fit in, to be like everyone else, the very core of our being, our gift to this planet lies in simply being who we are.
Please take the 15 minutes to watch this very moving talk by Scott and share his story (and mine if you are moved by it too) so that others who are also different may take comfort and celebrate the difference we be.