This week I want to borrow a phrase for our Tip from one of the most important individuals who ever lived. Helen Keller was born in Alabama in 1880. She was healthy at birth and lived a normal life for 19 months. However, at that time, she was stricken by a fever and as a result, became deaf and blind. And, hence, mute. She lived in complete darkness and silence until she was seven years old.
Her father, who had been a captain in the Civil War, owned a newspaper company and learned that there might be help for his daughter, Helen. Both he and his wife were delighted when help finally arrived in the person of Ann Sullivan.
Ann could understand Helen’s problems first-hand because she has been almost blind until the age of 16. At that time, an operation restored her sight, but not completely. Ann saw that Helen, like many other handicapped children, had been greatly spoiled by her parents because they felt so sorry for her. Ann insisted on strict discipline for Helen. Ann knew that Helen would have to overcome the most difficult physical handicap of all by being deaf, dumb, and blind, in order to have any quality of life.
Ann Sullivan taught Helen the value of determination. She spent over 50 years of her life with Helen Keller. The remarkable thing to me is that Helen Keller, in spite of all of her challenges, lived life to its fullest. She not only learned how to speak and write, but she also learned how to read Braille. In 1904, she graduated with honors from Radcliffe College. It seems Helen Keller wanted to make up for the lost years of her life when she lived in utter darkness. She worked with such determination that she provided a better way of life, not only for herself, but for many others who would face physical and mental limitations. She wrote articles, she gave lectures for the American Foundation for the Blind, and raised over $2,000,000 in her lifetime, an incredible sum for her day!
On her 80th birthday, the American Foundation for the Blind organization honored her and announced the Helen Keller International Award for those who gave outstanding help to the blind. Her determination and willingness to live life to the fullest, no doubt was the source of amazement and inspiration even to Presidents of the United States. She was invited to the White House to meet every President from the time she was just a very young lady. If you don’t think that is an important honor, just ask yourself how many times have you or I been invited to the White House? She was involved in so many activities that people of great reputation took notice of her life and wanted to help her.
When Helen wanted to further her education, she did not want to ask her father for the money. One of her admirers heard that she wanted further education and came to her aid and sent her to the school. That admirer was Mark Twain. He was just one of the many people who were inspired by Helen Keller’s determination and desire to live life to the fullest. Isn’t it amazing to see how we all get our inspiration from each other?
I firmly believe that you can either live life as a daring, bold adventure or you can simply sit on the sidelines and watch others. I believe that we have been given life so we can live it, not so we can avoid living it.
If you are getting a little bored in life, why not jump in and start living life as an adventure? I believe it will not only add years to your life, but it will cause the trip to be much more enjoyable. You will bless a lot of people along the way, who in turn, will bless others also. That is just the way life works!
Tip: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all!” – Helen Keller
Reprinted with permission from the "Tip of the Week".
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