Facts & Observations by Jonathan Sprout
She was left blind and deaf by a severe illness at the age of 19 months. Using her exceptional mind and strong will, she learned to communicate with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. She learned how to read Braille and to “listen” by feeling a speaker’s face. In 1904, Miss Keller graduated with honors from Radcliffe College. She authored a number of books about her experiences while lecturing and fund raising on behalf of handicapped people. She proved to the world that disability does not mean inability.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.” -- Helen Keller
The story of Helen Keller would not be complete without mentioning the importance of her teacher, Anne Sullivan.
Helen Keller was a hero, in part, because she took what little she was given and made the most of it beyond everyone’s wildest expectations, including hers! It’s been said “Your life is the world’s gift to you. What you make of it, is your gift to the world.” Helen Keller made the most of her life and she could not have done this without the love and dedication of Anne Sullivan, her teacher. Through their friendship, Helen was able to soar, to be all she could be. Now her life is an inspiration to all of us who want to make the most of our own lives.
“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than walk alone in the light.” – Helen Keller
“The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.” – Helen Keller
Anne’s teaching method with Helen became a Montessori model. Children should be encouraged to educate themselves.
“All the world is very full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller
It would have been easy for Ms. Keller to simply give up with bitterness on life, to give in to the darkness and the isolation. Instead of sinking to that dark separation from others, she made the choice to connect -- to reach out and to give and receive with the human race, not just on a personal level (as with Anne), but on a global level (as through her books and travels).
Her life shows us how far a person can come and how great a person can become who once had so little. She is an example of spirit and love overpowering physical limitations. If she could do it, so can we. We too can overcome our handicaps, fears, shortcomings and bad experiences. Nothing is impossible after we realize that a blind, deaf and speechless girl became a graceful, loving, brilliant, highly respected author and spokesperson who inspired millions to make the most of their gifts. Helen Keller knew that her gift back to Life was making the most of everything she had.
“She remains proof to the world that disability does not mean inability.” -- Life Magazine