Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bridging The Gap

I had a great opportunity this past weekend to observe something that put a big smile on my face.

As many of you know, my youngest son struggles with a lifelong seizure disorder. He’s had three brain surgeries, takes medications, yet his seizures continue to be difficult to control. This of course affects his education. Though he tries to do his best, learning from verbal instruction is something that doesn’t come easy for him. Yet, show him how to do something and he catches on so much better. It’s the language that complicates matters. Many people without seizure disorders may find they are visual learners as well.

My father on the other hand, had a professional career in the education system. He started out as a teacher and within a few short years became a principal until he finally retired many years later. He is book smart and has an incredible knack for being able to reason and explain why things are the way they are. He can make sense of the 50 page instruction manuals that many get boggled down by. (Me? I can’t even pronounce half the words—very frustrating!) However, my father was in the education system back in the days before Game Boy’s, Wii’s, or even before computers were so common. And of course who ever heard of text messaging and tweeting?

I was excited to pack my family up for a weekend trip to visit my dad. While there, on several occasions, I caught my dad with his arm around my son, helping him to read a book, giving him clues how to sound out vowels, to read the words, and praising my son for his efforts.

It also did my heart good for me to watch my son teach his grandpa a thing or two about Wii games, Game Boys, and computers. The two of them sat and played games. I watched and listened as Bryan showed his Grandpa how this remote works and how to play that game. He even showed his Grandpa a thing or two on the computer. I kept hearing my dad say how “Smart that boy is,” and “Why am I so old that I have such a hard time learning these things?”

From my observations, the thought occurred to me that my dad has a wealth of knowledge from all his wonderful life experiences (as well as being book smart) that my son can learn from his Grandpa. At the same time, I loved the thought that my son has something that he too can share. That he was able to teach and help his Grandpa with a few things that he was struggling with. I have to admit the scenes before me brought a few tears to my eyes.

It’s a wonderful reminder to me, and one that I am thankful for, that we are all sent here with different talents, different struggles, coming from different walks of life, yet we can all learn and grow and gain so much from each other.


Gale Sears said...

Your blog had such a wonderful feeling to it. Thank you for your tenderness. I totally agree with the miracles that happen because we live in a world of unique individuals. It truly is how we learn.

Jennie said...

People learn and grow at different rates and in different ways. Who's to say one way is better than another! Your father sounds like a man who understands this.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Beautiful post, Jeri. I think sometimes we don't realize how much we learn from each other.