FIND DIRECTION AND INSPIRATION
READ ABOUT OTHERS FROM
YESTERDAY AND TODAY!
THEIR STORIES MAY HELP YOU TO WRITE YOUR STORY.
Free Yourself with Knowledge
By Colleen Akey
And the Next Step Writing Team
Have you ever trusted someone, and, then, found that they have turned on you?
Education isn't limited to opening doors of hope, but can help to close bad doors, as well. It is through education that we learn how to get to where we want to go, as well as accept where we have been.
How much do you know about Frederick Douglas? His story is a worthy one to know. It is a great example of how important education is and how valuable one’s determination can be when one is persistent. Such efforts can deliver exactly what someone wants.
Frederick Douglass was born of a slave woman in 1818, which made him property; not much different than a calf born of a cow. At seven, being property, his life began to change as he was moved from one household to another. How well do you think that you would deal with being uprooted from family and then sent from one household to another?
His education began while with one of the Auld families. Sophia Auld, wife of Hugh Auld, chose to teach Frederick the alphabet; it was unfortunate that her husband found out. Hugh Auld was one of many who were not in favor of educating slaves. Those in charge of the slavery movement had convinced society that if slaves were educated, they would rebel. Preventing any kind of a quality education and showing disregard for the nucleus of the family were just two of the methods used to control a people and prevent them from changing their social status.
While Sophia didn’t necessarily agree with her husband, she felt obliged to respect his wishes. Frederick, on his own, chose to continue to learn how to read. One day, Mistress Auld spied Frederick reading a newspaper; she grabbed the newspaper from his hands in anger. At the time, he was smart enough to know to be more secretive in the future and, too, not to take the lady’s actions personally; he knew that her anger was generated out of fear. How do we know this? Because Frederick continued his efforts in reading and, over time, became a writer and wrote his autobiography. In it, he wrote kindly about Sophia Auld, using warm words to describe her.
With attitudes being what they were before the civil war, it was Douglass' persistence that accomplished his dream, which was more than admirable. You can be sure, especially during his teens, that he had moments of self-doubt and helplessness:
"I was not more than thirteen years old, when in my loneliness and destitution
I longed for someone to whom I could go to as a father and protector."
How did he educate himself? He read; he read anything that he could find: newspapers, books of all genres and subjects; however, it was his interest in politics that caused him to understand how wrong slavery was. He began to reject the concept of slavery during his studies of human rights. He is quoted saying, “knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom.”
Douglass managed to escape from slavery and become a social reformer, orator, writer, and statesman. His own well-expressed intellect countered the argument that slaves lacked an intellectual capacity. It was his intelligence that most impressed President Lincoln.
Douglass' life reflects a passion for knowledge; but understand this: it is not about a man's teaching himself how to read; it is about the fact that he was not allowed to learn to read; it was forbidden! With attitudes being what they were, it was Douglass' persistence that accomplished his dream, turning him into a free man who became a newspaper owner and, without a doubt, someone to be admired. There is a great deal of material published online about Douglass, including stories about his travels to Ireland and England. What he had to say about his travels you might find quite interesting.
Douglass founded The North Star, a weekly publication. You can read more about Frederick Douglas here:
Read his story, and allow it to lift you up when you feel overwhelmed by personal difficulties!
If there is no struggle there is no progress! Frederick Douglass
Delos "Toby" M. Cosgrove M.D.
The Next Step Writing Team
In 2004, Dr. Cosgrove became the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic after retiring
from Cardiac surgery, where he had also been the Chairman of the
Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgery.
More significant about Dr. Cosgrove is that his own story includes a history
that many students can relate to. He applied to 13 medical colleges before
being accepted by one. This was because Dr. Cosgrove was a C and D student.
He was 32 before he learned what parents are told today about their children—that he was dyslexic. It is no surprise to learn that reading was not his favorite subject. While speaking with Brian Lamb on September 25th, 2013, during a C-span Q & A, he told Mr. Lamb that he does not believe that he has ever read a novel. To read the many reports that he must, he stated that he has to "settle down" and find a quiet place where there are no distractions. This way, he can concentrate and take notes. He writes in the margins. Then, he rereads the material, slowly.
Yet, look at what this man has accomplished, working around a handicap that was an unknown when he was in school. Today, he is an international speaker due to his reputation as an expert in all areas of cardiac surgery, including valve repair; he designed a product used in valve repair (one of many patents that he holds). He is published in over 450 journals, has added chapters to books and produced 17 training and continuing medical education films. Dr. Cosgrove is a surgeon who has performed over 22,000 operations and, as a CEO, has appeared on many TV shows.
All of that was accomplished by a dyslexic who oversees a massive medical operation and openly admits to a past that includes poor grades. Once again, it is a testimony to persistence.
Why did he struggle through high school, college and medical school?
Why didn't he just give up and accept a job that did not align with his dream of making a difference in people's lives?
He had determination! The word "NO" was not a concept which he accepted. He kept knocking on doors and admitted that he did his very best!
“Patients may not know how to measure clinical outcomes, and they may not understand the technical know-how that a doctor must have in order to perform a complex heart surgery or neurosurgery, but they can form clear judgments about their experience. They know whether their rooms are clean and whether people are polite to them. They recognize differences in the quality of the food and in how an organization looks and feels. They know whether they feel cared for. Most of all, they can tell whether they’ve had a healing experience—or whether being in a hospital has only impeded their healing.”
― Toby Cosgrove, The Cleveland Clinic Way: Lessons in Excellence from One of the World's Leading Health Care Organizations
By Kathleen Brown
Just before high school graduation, I realized that dyslexia defined me; finally, my challenges in school made sense. It took a work-study program to turn the lights on for me. I realized that I was not dumb as so many wanted me to believe, but actually pretty sharp and definitely creative; over time, my work history proved me right.
It was my senior year when I was enrolled in the work-study program. I was put into a position as a dental assistant, and it made me panic. I thought that I would never learn all the names of those many tools or get my duties correct, but I did. Then within two weeks, I was bored. It was then that I realized that I learn differently.
Were you inspired by someone's story?
Did it help you stay on course
toward achieving your dream?
If you were encouraged,
we invite you to share here
and inspire a new generation!
Dyslexia is classified as a developmental reading disorder; it is characterized by difficulty with learning to read fluently and with accurate comprehension despite normal or above-average intelligence.
© 2014 The Chelsea Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved
This Month's Featured Artists
& Board Member
Sarah C. O'Neill
Determination That Makes the News
The Next Step Writing Team
Overnight, one woman has become a singing sensation and the focal point of world entertainment; however, it hasn't always been so easy. She went from being unemployed and living in the Scottish home that she grew up in to having an estimated net-worth of 33 million dollars in five years. Not since the Beetles, has anyone held both the UK and the US charts twice in the same year; but Susan Boyle did it with “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Wild Horses!”
Before going on Britain's Got Talent, Susan said to a camera, "I am going to make that audience rock!" Then, she walked onto the stage, with a lifetime of determination behind her, and did it. She admitted to being 47 years old, which brought laughter and eye rolling from both the judges and audience, but before she finished the opening phrase of “I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables, in her mezzo-soprano voice, she had everyone on their feet, giving her a standing ovation.
Unfortunately, Susan did not win the competition that season; it turned out that a physical condition, later diagnosed as Asperger’s Syndrome, got in her way. The pressure from being in a global spotlight became too much for her; however, not winning did not stop her. Once people everywhere knew who she was and fell in love with her voice, they wanted her records.
Asperger’s Syndrome is not welknown; thankfully, because of Susan, public awareness has grown. It is a condition that many struggle with—especially from kindergarten to twelfth grade. One of our student volunteers has the condition and chose to educate our readers. We hope that you will read Michael Westwood's thoughts and allow yourself to be educated on the subject of Asperger’s. At the end of Michael's article, you will find a list of people who also have this condition, or are suspected to have had it—you might be surprised by who made the list. In the future, we hope that it will inspire you to be more sensitive to those you meet who are like Susan and Michael.
Coming! Next Issue "Learn the Art of Mind Mapping!"