I love this picture and the message within it; it is one of the most powerful messages and one that provides a strong message.
As I have walked through life, I have learned many things along the way. I endeavour to keep learning and keep learning the truth in this picture over and over again. I have experienced both of the truths here many times in my life. As a child who was dyslexic (although undiagnosed so never knew I was dyslexic until adulthood), I learned very early in life the damage that is done to our souls and spirits when we are asked to climb a tree, and we don’t have the physical capacity to do so.
I first realised that this stereotyping was affecting my spirit when I was five-years-old. Up until that age and time I was very confident. I knew who I was and felt superb about the life I was living and the future in front of me. This knowing and assurance came from my parents who loved me unconditionally. I grew up and lived in an environment that told me over and over again that I was loved and valued.
Now, in hindsight, I can see that I’ve always had a natural tendency towards leadership. I always had lots of friends, and it didn’t ever dawn on me I was less than anyone else. I had a solid grounding which also let me know that I wasn’t better than anyone else, but I was valuable. Knowing your value helps so much because comparison doesn’t have much of a chance to enter the equation, which is a good thing.
I remember that in year three and four I started to struggle with school work but even through the fight, I still believed in my possibilities however in year five things started to go belly up.
I have an older sister who I love very much and she was one of those kids who always behaved herself, I, however, was always very cheeky and the class clown. It was in year five that my teacher began always asking me why I couldn’t be like my sister. Because my sister was so compliant and loveable and she followed the rules so well, this teacher naturally loved her. I can completely understand why. As for me, my nature was quite defiant and on top of that school was hard work for me. It was in this year that I realised I was the elephant in the room being expected to be the monkey, and it was never going to work for him or me.
My sister didn’t find school work easy either but she was wiser than I and was blessed with a very enduring, flexible nature. I realised later in life I was a shock to this poor teachers system, he did his best but l just threw him into dismay. My personality didn’t flow the way I think he would have liked causing him no end of frustration.
Long story short this was just the beginning of people trying to put me into a mould that I just didn’t fit in and me spending most of my time and energy fighting against authorities in my life just trying to learn who I was and where I fit. This was years of exhausted effort on my part. In saying that, I must admit, I think I was born with a rebellious spirit and a lot of the trouble I got into I had lots of fun creating.
You see because of my parent’s unconditional love I always knew deep down, while others thought I was dumb and less than them, I knew I was valuable regardless of what they thought about me. I left school without ever having read a whole book, very little notes ever written in my workbooks, most of my time down at the Headmistress office and known as the school pest. None of my teachers ever really knew me or knew the potential within me, but my parents did, and I did too.
My teachers and others put some doubts in my mind from time to time but I still always knew I was loved, valued and believed in by my parents and, more importantly to me, Jesus. It was this unshakable knowing I would make
something of my life one day that kept me standing when times were tough.
Now, as a parent of dyslexic children I had a distinct advantage in helping them walk their journey as I understood what they were going through. My mother was a brilliant scholar, but she didn’t have the advantage I now have of understanding dyslexia but what she did have was unconditional love and a belief in her daughter that no one
Why am I telling all you beautiful young parents a very little part of my journey? Simply because the truth in this picture is so very important to know and understand. As parents and grandparents can never expect our children to climb a tree they weren’t created to climb. I know at school there are trees like learning to read that they may have
No choice but to climb, however, don’t ask them to climb them the same as everyone else does or how the monkey does if they aren’t a monkey. Learn who they are, what their natural abilities and giftings are, they all have them. Major on what they can do well naturally and find out if they have any learning difficulties because these days there is so much help out there. Teach them never to use this as an excuse but see where they are challenged so together you can overcome the difficulties because, as it’s said, where there is a will, there is always a way.
I didn’t even know I was dyslexic until I had my first child tested so we could learn how to help him. I was thrown out of class so much, and there wasn’t the assistance in the 50’s and 60’s that there is now. Use the help that is so readily available. The same goes for anything in life whether it’s music, sport or anything at else. Please don’t expect your children to be naturally gifted in anything, work with what they are good at.
I love how children are encouraged to be involved in many varieties of activities these days. I think it’s wonderful to let them try many things so they can find where their passions and abilities are and what comes naturally to them and then they can achieve success.
Something I find funny is that I’m writing this blog while in Bali where I am leading a team of beautifully gifted teachers who are training teachers how to teach children to read and comprehend English. I know my challenges, and the challenges of my children created a passion within me to give every child the opportunity to learn how to read well at their pace in their way with love and dignity.
I am such a blessed woman to have the opportunities that have been given to me to encourage young parents and to equip teachers and children in Australia, Bali, Indonesia and India to be the best monkey, elephant
or whatever they can be. Please remember we are all extremely valuable, all very different and we all have so much to contribute to this world no matter who we are or what our abilities are.