Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A kinder place

I grew up in a household that valued education.  My mom was a teacher, the first in her family to go to college. Some of my earliest memories are playing school, with my older sister Ahna playing the well-informed teacher. Ahna and I not only loved playing school, we loved attending school. We were both pretty good at academics, and both of us went to college after high school, followed by graduate school.

But I've always been aware that what comes easily to me isn't always easy to other people.  My story isn't universal, even in my family.
Image result for cheering from the sidelines
I have an older sister named Jennifer.  She's nine years older than I.  In addition to some other challenges in life (like being hearing-impaired), Jen also has some learning disabilities. I've never been exactly clear what they are, but I know school wasn't always easy for her. And now, at the age of 42, she is in her first year of college. I couldn't be prouder of her.  She's figuring out reading and writing and studying.  It's not always easy for her. She has to have pluck and determination and fortitude. I get to cheer her on.

Maybe it's because of my sister, but I've always been mindful of people whose brains work a little differently.  Our world as a whole isn't designed for that kind of diversity.

 Take dyslexia for example. This image is what some people have imagined to be what words might look like for a person with dyslexia.

So when I heard about a new project to develop a font designed for people with dyslexia, I was really excited.

What would it be like if schools and churches and businesses used this font? What if my church used this font?  What worlds would it open up to kids (and adults for that matter) who struggle to read?

Image result for martin luther
Lutherans like lots of written words.  Martin Luther was a big fan of the written word, and that seems to be part of our heritage. But that love of words can be an obstacle for people who aren't great readers.

What would it be like to have a newsletter and a bulletin in dyslexie? What about a hymnal and a Bible?

That vision extends beyond my reach, but the little kindnesses I can do in my own community are within my reach.  Our congregation council has just voted to experiment with Dyslexie for a year.

Maybe. as you read this post, you'll think of people like my sister- who are brave and smart and have worked hard- and help me in making the world a kinder place.

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