Despite being driven to be a reader, her disability hampered her ability to comprehend the words she was reading. Fortunately, our academic background served to help Faith.
Several years before, I received a graduate degree in elementary education, while Michelle had received one of her Master’s degree that emphasized teaching reading. Consequently, we were familiar with how children learn by reading. Typically, children’s vocabulary grows exponentially if parents read to them early in life. We committed ourselves to spend a minimum of an hour a day reading to our little daughter. Though she didn’t understand what we were saying, she was intrigued nonetheless. These early years fostered a love that complimented her God given desire for reading that remains with her today.
As Faith developed her love for reading, she was reading on her own by the age of 3. While she didn’t understand the words, she mouthed sounds as she pretended to read the books. Her facial expressions told the story as she dramatized what she read. It was incredible to us that she understood so many things about reading. There was a story, characters, action and plot; she even knew that the letters meant something. She read in a sing-song voice with lots of emotion, mimicking our reading to her. Her emotion went along with the pictures as well.
A little while later, probably around the age of 3, she began reading to her dolls. She would have three or four of them lined up side by side, reading to them the whole time. Faith, obviously, was a natural teacher as she mimicked what she was seeing from her parents. Not only did we love to read, we loved to read to Faith. She, then, was extending that same commitment to her dolls. This is one of the blessings of parenthood, seeing your child carry on in your footsteps.
As a parent one has the privilege develop the next generation by passing on important parenting principles. This was a principle that Solomon, author of the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament, transferred to his children when he said, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6) We hope that Faith will continue her love for learning and never depart from her zeal to overcome.
She was successful. Her face told the whole story, as she grinned from ear to ear. Michelle and I couldn’t contain our excitement. Faith had conquered the chair. There would be many more examples to verify that this characteristic was part of who Faith was and deeply embedded in her personality.