Friday, October 15, 2010

White Cane Day

Today we celebrated the ever-so-popular holiday: White Cane Day. White cane, you ask? Yes, I would be referring to the long white canes that people who are blind or visually impaired use to travel. And YES, there happens to be a day to celebrate these things. But let me just tell you that the day was both eventful and meaningful in many ways. The eventfulness started early...

7:30 am
I set out on my morning commute to work, headed down I35. Suddenly, my dashboard started beeping at me, and my tire went flat. I was lucky enough to have exited in time, but what a helpless feeling! I was stuck. I don't even know how to change a tire. However, my sweet dad came to my rescue. Just in time for me to get to school for the field trip....

9:00 am
Yes, this would be the field trip celebration of White Cane Day at City Hall. My 8 year old student was literally bouncing off the walls with excitement. I humored him in his excitement but secretly doubted the amazingness that would be 100 blind people parading around City Hall and keeping my student on task during hours of speakers. Am I a horrible person for thinking this?

Maybe. Everything was nice. Teachers accompanied students on a walk around City Hall with many other blind people in the community. We enjoyed turkey sandwiches and prepared to listen to some speakers. Could this simply be just a nice break from the grind of the school day?

No. The speakers were amazing. Many of the speakers were members of the community with a visual impairment who are successful and fabulous and motivating. They encouraged the crowd to remember that a visual impairment may be a loss of eyesight but not a loss of "vision." I was encouraged to make a difference for my students and hoped my student was encouraged as well...Oh wait, I think my student is sleeping....

I guess I was wrong. As we returned to school and I prepared to send him back to class, my student asked if we could practice reading. Ummmmm, sure? He told me that he listened to the speakers talk about how he could do anything he put his mind to, and he wanted to get better at reading. He also told me that this celebration of the white cane made him think about how his white cane can remind him that he can do anything or go anywhere he wants to go. He told me that hearing the speakers and being around others who are blind reminded him that he is not the only one who can't see and that he must work hard to achieve his dreams.

As my little guy headed out for the weekend, I sat there dumbfounded. Man, he seriously never ceases to amaze me with his ability to humble me. And here is what I learned today:

1. Kids will surprise you. They just might be listening when you least expect it. You never know when they might actually hear something that will resonate within.

2. Maybe I can be more open to hearing those messages sometimes, too.

3. Feeling stranded with my flat was a temporary feeling. Nothing a quick call to roadside assistance and a really good dad can't fix. My students and the blind people in the community probably have that feeling much more often. And yes, I think we DO need to celebrate that white cane and all it signifies for these individuals.

4. A girl needs to be rescued by her Daddy every now and then. :)


No comments:

Post a Comment