Leadership Development

Popping the Lid: Human potential catalyzed by encouragement

Fleas can jump up to 200 times their size. Put them in a jar with a lid on it, and they are soon jumping only as high as they can without hitting the lid. One Sunday I was the guest speaker at a small church. I went to the pastor’s home for the noon meal after the service. As we sat at the table, I could tell that this lunch was different; the pastor’s wife had set out the special napkins and silverware. The three children were on their best behavior. The older son caught my attention. He was a tall, lanky kid with cerebral palsy. After getting acquainted, I said to him, “Alan, what subjects do you like in high school?” With a smile, he answered, “Algebra. I love Algebra.” I continued, “What do you want to do after you graduate from high school?” With some hesitation, he responded, “Someday I’d like to be a math teacher.” I said, “So where do you want to go to college?” His father jumped in, “Alan’s handicapped; he’s not going to college.” The light in Alan’s face drained away. Influential people often put a lid on those they lead.

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Hearing Impaired vs Listening Impaired

My wife and daughter are hearing-impaired. They inherited a deficiency of the central nervous system that affects their hearing. Most people do not notice their impairment because they listen so well. With the assistance of hearing aids and lip-reading, both are expert listeners.

Another member of our family is listening-impaired. The doc says there is nothing wrong with my hearing. But listening has been an impairment I’ve been working to overcome all of my adult life.

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