Believing in Gold
At the age of nine, doctors diagnosed a young boy from Maryland with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Such a diagnosis typically means that a person is marked for life; his medical disorder will follow him from year to year in school, through college (if he makes it) and undoubtedly influence his choice of occupation. Without some type of intervention, such a young boy will never experience any type of success. Is this a fair way to assess the boy? Fortunately, this particular boy had a mother that believed in him and looked for a way to help him succeed. Is that enough?
Teachers play an essential role in the lives of their students. Too often, a pupil will receive a reputation for better or worse that everyone will eventually accept as fact. If a teacher were to make a foolish statement, such as, “You just can’t read.” to a student, this would likely evolve into the student believing the statement to be true. The parents might very likely buy into the statement and create new excuses as to why their son cannot read. We must be careful that we do not create negative, self-fulfilling prophecies. Parents and teachers must believe that they can make a difference in the lives of their students and children.
The young boy mentioned above had a mother who found ways that her son could learn to focus. She worked very hard to help him manage his time better and encouraged him to pursue his favorite sport of swimming. Within two years of his diagnosis, his coach-to-be told her that he had incredible talent. Finally, there was someone else who saw what she had seen and believed in her son! The boy continued to compete and see victory both in and out of the pool.
As the new school year begins, will you, teacher, be the one that believes in a student for the first time in years, or will you give in to all the hype? You may be the answer to a weary parent’s prayer. Take time to get to know the student and his parent(s). Do research and find a way to connect. Our students’ lives are too precious for us to give up. Parents and teachers must work together to ensure victory in the life of each student.
To conclude the story of the young boy, he just recently competed in the Beijing Olympics and became the most decorated Olympian of all-time. Michael Phelps is to swimming what Tiger Woods is to golf or Michael Jordan is to basketball. His focus during a competition is unmatched. Even water in his goggles (said to be the most irritating complication to a swimmer) could not keep him from winning one of his record eight gold medals in a single Olympics.
His weakness has become his strength.
He can attribute this to his mother, Debbie, and the coach that first believed in him, Bob Bowman.