My Greatest Teacher
My Greatest Teacher
During college, I obtained a job with Residential Services, Inc., a company providing homes to disabled residents. As a habilitation aide, I assisted residents with habits of daily living and special programs. I worked at a number of the houses and met many of the residents, but the one I remember most was Russell.
After his birth in the 1940s, doctors determined he had cerebral palsy and advised his mother to put him in a residential hospital where he was labeled profoundly mentally retarded. Russell lacked the use of his legs and one arm and had severe speech impairments.
When I met 55-year-old Russell, his curly red hair and white beard partially covered his lined face, but he wore a noticeable scowl. He would not speak to me although I was responsible for bathing, dressing, and feeding him. We eventually discovered a common interest in country music. Once, while I was singing to myself, he became excited. He raced his electric wheelchair into his room and returned with a picture of himself dressed like Willie Nelson, whom he resembled. From that moment on, we were best buddies. With the help of a picture board, we began communicating. I found he could say a lot of words and phrases. Although garbled, I began to recognize his vernacular, and it became apparent to me that Russell was mislabeled. He was not profoundly mentally retarded. He was wise and intuitive, and I wondered what Russell could have achieved if he had been born today.
I worked at RSI until I graduated, and stayed in touch with Russell after I married and had my first baby. The last time I saw him, he was clutching my newborn daughter in his “good” arm. I will never forget the wonderful man society tossed aside. His life was inspirational, and he was one of my most memorable teachers. He taught me never to underestimate a person’s capacity to overcome life’s obstacles, a lesson I continue to pass on to my students and children.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR, LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
Read more articles by carmen barnes or search for other articles by topic below.
Search for articles on: (e.g. creation; holiness etc.)Read more by clicking on a link:
Main Site Articles
Most Read Articles
Highly Acclaimed Challenge Articles.
New Release Christian Books for Free for a Simple Review.
NEW - Surprise Me With an Article - Click here for a random URL
God is Not Against You - He Came on an All Out Rescue Mission to Save You
...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19
Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38
LEARN & TRUST JESUS HERE
The opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Wow. What a wonderful treasure you found. I do wonder what would have been different if they'd realized his potential. Thanks for sharing this.
This article has been read 246 times < Previous | Next >