We are in the final stages of creating our 9th box, and I am so excited about it. Everyone knows the story of Helen Keller, but we give a lot less focus to someone instrumental in her growth and success despite her disabilities — her devoted teacher. As such, our Devotion Box gives voice to the woman who helped Helen find her own voice, Anne Sullivan.
As far as the character trait goes, devotion is a tricky word. I kept asking myself, will others see and understand what a strong character trait devotion actually is? Is purposely putting one’s self behind another, a strong enough symbol of strength, of grit and grace?
My soul shouts a resounding yes. Life served for another is the strongest life. Devotion to others, a cause, a goal, in Anne’s case, to Helen Keller, shows empathy for the plight of another. Wanting more for another is complete strength, grace and grit.
Anne was not only able to empathize with her student, but she was able to use tremendous strength to teach Helen, who was deaf and blind, how to communicate. What a gift! Anne was the one person who could help Helen understand the world around her, and as such gave tremendous power to the idea that people can have meaningful, fulfilling lives even with disabilities. Just by being devoted to Helen, Anne Sullivan changed the world.
Women, devotion to our ideals and to each other is our ultimate strength. It is devotion that allows us to weather tough storms and come together. When women are devoted to other women’s successes, that is tremendous power.
Our country was built upon devotion to being an independent nation. Devotion to equal rights has propelled the rights of women and African Americans in the last century, devotion to feeding hungry children started UNICEF. Devotion is a means for a call to action. Devotion is moving through your own wants and desires to make life better for all.
Our sweet girls must remember not to lose who they are in their devotion to an idea, but realize the power they have to change their community and potentially the world through this powerful character trait. Anne’s devotion to her student propelled Helen and the visually impaired to a status that would have otherwise never have been reached.
Have you ever asked your girl what she feels devoted to? Whom she thinks she can help? It can start small. Devote yourself to the food drive at school. Be devoted to being friendly and kind by saying hello to three people every day. Be devoted to inclusiveness by inviting others to play games at recess.
The holidays are quickly coming upon us and my family is going to sit down and discuss what ideas we are going to be devoted to this holiday season. To whom will we devote our time and resources to serving? I am going to let Daughter take the lead on this discussion and watch her make decisions and follow through. I am excited to see where this challenge will lead her and how it will open her eyes to the world around her. After all, as her mother, I am devoted to her potential to make the world a better place, just like Anne did.