The Gift of Dyslexia-A Homeschooler's Graduation Speech
A poster on my bedroom wall reads: “All good things must come to an end.” But I ask: “Is everything sad going to come untrue?” These two quotes—one allegedly by Chaucer and the other from Lord of the Rings—seem fitting for today, the end of the school year for all of us, and for some of us, the end of homeschooling as we have known it.
But who isn’t ready for summer? Granted, some of us may be doing summer school, but it still feels good to have a school year behind us. Many good things will be drawing to a close this summer, and that transition and change may be really hard for some of us.
These 13 years of homeschooling for me have been filled with joys, hardships, and sorrows. And thinking back on all my years of homeschooling, I have realized something: Sometimes our greatest weaknesses can change to become our greatest strengths.
When I was 10, I found out I had dyslexia. I knew something was wrong with me, and, finally, there was a name for it. I felt stuck. How could I ever get better if I couldn’t do a simple thing like read and write like everyone else? It was hard at that time to see what God had in store for me. Why did it have to be me? Why couldn’t I be normal? But with time and the encouragement of family, friends, and teachers, I learned to see dyslexia not so much as a curse but as a gift—something that enabled me to think in pictures and to love creative things like art and baking. My mom would often remind me: “We all have strengths and weaknesses, and your strengths in so many areas mean, of course, that you have weaknesses in others.”
This, I think, applies to all of us. Whether you have a learning disability, like I did, or even if you just struggle in certain areas, it is important to realize what you can do and what you’re good at, rather than being stuck in what you can’t do. Not that any of us shouldn’t work at overcoming those things that are hard for us, but they shouldn’t keep us from doing the things we love and are good at. Working at overcoming the hard things helps us become better at the things we love.
In our struggles, I think God smiles because He knows that what seems like a stumbling block to us now will someday be our greatest triumph. The girl who despaired of ever being able to read was considered a grown-up by the little kids because she was the only one who volunteered to read aloud; the girl who couldn’t spell to save her life, wrote a play. The apostle Paul talks about this kind of thing saying: “If I must boast, I boast of the things that show my weakness.” And when he pleads with God to take his suffering away, the answer he gets is this: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul says: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10). So, don’t give up; don’t despair when things seem impossible, because God will make them more than possible. He will make them wonderful!
There is a prayer in the Lutheran book of worship that goes:
Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage—not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When God calls us to follow Him, we have no idea what we’re getting into. The paths He chooses may not be the ones we would choose for ourselves. But God knows our strengths, and He knows our weaknesses. He knows how to use both for His glory, even though we don’t see or understand how. But if we keep on following Him “by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown” or, as I like to quote my favorite book, “through continual night, to the world’s end,” then He will lead us to a world turned upside down, where our weaknesses become our strengths, and where everything sad is going to come untrue.