Helen Keller’s wisdom amazes me. What is even more astonishing is that she was able as a deaf and blind person to achieve what she did. At the age of 19 months, she contracted an illness that left her with these two disabilities. Until Anne Sullivan began working with six-year-old Helen, she lived in a world of silent darkness. Using the sense of touch and feeling the vibration of voice, Helen actually became a world renowned speaker. She most strongly identified herself as a writer. Braille was the method she used to read and write. She was fluent in five languages including Latin, French and German. Born in 1880, she was the first blind-deaf person to graduate with a B.A. Can you imagine making sense of the world without the benefit of sight or hearing? May you learn from the wisdom of Helen Keller!
Here is a brief video demonstrating how Anne Sullivan taught Helen to verbally speak.
Ms. Keller was friends with such notables as Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Mark Twain. Politically, she was quite a mover and shaker. Helen Keller spoke on behalf of those with disabilities as well as those with economic impoverishment. She believed that the highest result of education is tolerance. As an educator, I must concur.
Looking at the challenges that Ms. Keller faced, I could easily tie the concepts of loss and grief to her situation. She did have full use of her sight and hearing until nineteen months. She surely must have felt loss and grief in puzzling how to make sense of the world. She could have become bitter, but eventually became better through her efforts to help others less fortunate. For any kind of grief or loss, Ms. Keller’s wisdom may prove helpful.
Timeless bits of wisdom from Helen Keller
- Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.
- Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.
- The only thing worse than being blind is having no vision.
- The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.
- What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
- One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.
- Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
- True happiness … is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
- Until the great mass of people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.
- Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.
Helen Keller’s viewpoints, insights and wisdom greatly inspire me. May she do the same for you!