Literacy and the Little Boy

Frederick - Lansing, MI 48912, Michigan
Entered on November 18, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: change, humanism

I believe in the power of one person to make a difference for all humanity. I believe that circumstances are not a predictor of the power of the individual to make a difference.

On January 4, 1809, a little boy was born in Coop Frey, France. Four years later, he was playing in his father’s workplace and severely injured himself. There was no OSHA. There were no antibiotics or the knowledge of germs. There were no telephones or 911 paramedics to call. Some people believe that a tragedy happened that day. I believe a miracle happened that day: the world changed forever.

A little boy injured his eye with his father’s leather working tool. He eventually lost all of his eyesight. No one would have thought it unusual if the little boy had grown up to be a beggar or the ward of his parents and siblings. No one would have been surprised if he had died poor, broken and desolate.

Such was not the case. Something within young Louis Braille drove him. He thirsted for knowledge. He wanted to read. He wanted to teach. He wanted to express his creativity through music and language.

It is well-known that Louis Braille invented a portable and easily reproducible reading and writing system for blind people based on six dots read by touch. The Braille system is much more than that. The ability to read, write and record thoughts and ideas is arguably the most powerful invention of humanity. Inventing a universal system to extend this power to blind people has made all the difference.

Some people believe that the first blind astronaut has been born. We have seen blind artists, physicians, lawyers, politicians, judges, teachers, factory workers, secretaries, inventors, scientists and the list grows every day. Little Louis Braille’s accident led to the liberation of millions of people. One little boy whose curiosity, drive and imagination was not blotted out with his eyesight — One little boy of humble beginnings changed the world, just as have thousands and millions of others whose passion would not allow them to stop before their dreams were realized. I believe that, regardless of circumstances, every one of us possesses the God-given power to change the world.