In 1882 a baby girl caught a fever that was so fierce she nearly died. She survived but the fever left its mark — she could no longer see or hear. Because she could not hear she also found it very difficult to speak.
So how did this child, blinded and deafened at 19 months old, grow up to become a world-famous author and public speaker?
The fever cut her off from the outside world, depriving her of sight and sound. It was as if she had been thrown into a dark prison cell from which there could be no release.
Luckily Helen was not someone who gave up easily. Soon she began to explore the world by using her other senses. She followed her mother wherever she went, hanging onto her skirts, She touched and smelled everything she came across. She copied their actions and was soon able to do certain jobs herself, like milking the cows or kneading dough, She even learnt to recognize people by feeling their faces or their clothes. She could also tell where she was in the garden by the smell of the different plants and the feel of the ground under her feet.
By the age of seven she had invented over 60 different signs by which she could talk to her family, If she wanted bread for example, she would pretend to cut a loaf and butter the slices. If she wanted ice cream she wrapped her arms around herself and pretended to shiver.
Helen was unusual in that she was extremely intelligent and also remarkably sensitive. By her own efforts she had managed to make some sense of an alien and confusing world. But even so she had limitations.
At the age of five Helen began to realize she was different from other people. She noticed that her family did not use signs like she did but talked with their mouths. Sometimes she stood between two people and touched their lips. She could not understand what they said and she could not make any meaningful sounds herself. She wanted to talk but no matter how she tried she could not make herself understood. This make her so angry that she used to hurl herself around the room, kicking and screaming in frustration.
As she got older her frustration grew and her rages became worse and worse. She became wild and unruly . If she didn’t get what she wanted she would throw tantrums until her family gave in. Her favourite tricks included grabbing other people’s food from their plates and hurling fragile objects to the floor. Once she even managed to lock her mother into the pantry. Eventually it became clear that something had to be done. So, just before her seventh birthday, the family hired a private tutor — Anne Sullivan.
Anne was careful to teach Helen especially those subjects in which she was interested. As a result Helen became gentler and she soon learnt to read and write in Braille. She also learnt to read people’s lips by pressing her finger-tips against them and feeling the movement and vibrations. This method is called Tadoma and it is a skill that very, very few people manage to acquire. She also learnt to speak, a major achievement for someone who could not hear at all.
Helen proved to be a remarkable scholar, graduating with honours from Radcliffe College in 1904. She had phenomenal powers of concentration and memory, as well as a dogged determination to succeed. While she was still at college she wrote ‘The Story of My Life’. This was an immediate success and earned her enough money to buy her own house.
She toured the country, giving lecture after lecture. Many books were written about her and several plays and films were made about her life. Eventually she became so famous that she was invited abroad and received many honours from foreign universities and monarchs. In 1932 she became a vice-president of the Royal National Institute for the Blind in the United Kingdom.
After her death in 1968 an organization was set up in her name to combat blindness in the developing world. Today that agency, Helen Keller International, is one of the biggest organizations working with blind people overseas.
隨著年齡的增長她的怒氣越為越大。她變得狂野不馴。倘若她得不到想要的東西就會大發脾氣直到家人順從。她慣用的手段包括抓別人盤里的食物以及將易碎的東西猛扔在地。有一次她甚至將母親鎖在廚房里。這樣一來就得想個辦法了。于是，在她快到七歲生日時，家里便雇了一名家庭教師 —— 安尼·沙利文。
A college professor had his sociology class go into the Baltimore slums to get case histories of 200 young boys. They were asked to write an evaluation of each boy’s future. In every case the students wrote,” He hasn’t got a chance.” Twenty-five years later another sociology professor came across the earlier study. He had his students follow up on the project to see what had happened to these boys.
With the exception of 20 boys who had moved away or died, the students learned that 176 of the remaining 180 had achieved more than ordinary success as lawyers, doctors and businessmen.
The professor was astounded and decided to pursue the matter further. Fortunately, all men were in the area and he was able to ask each one,” How do you account for your success?” In each case the reply came with feeling,” There was a teacher.”
The teacher was still alive, so he sought her out and asked the old but still alert lady what magic formula she had used to pull these boys out of the slums into successful achievement.
The teacher’s eyes sparkled and her lips broke into a gentle smile. “It’s really very simple,” she said. “I loved those boys.”
教授大吃一驚并決定進一步地探究下去。幸運的是，這些長成人的孩子還都在這個地區，因此教授有機會挨個去問他們：“你是如何獲得你的這些成就的?”很讓人感動的是，他們的回答如出一轍：“因為我有一位好老師?！?br /> 這個老師還健在。當教授找到這位年邁但仍不失機警的婦人，問她到底有什么魔法能讓這些貧民窟的孩子都獲得如此成就的時候，這位老師眼里閃耀著光芒，她的嘴唇露出一抹溫柔微笑，“很簡單，”她說，“因為我愛這些孩子?！?br /> 高中生勵志英語美文：生命即是奇跡 Miraculous
Upon hearing her evaluation I became furious for I thought, “Who is she to tell me what I can or cannot do. She does not even know me. I am a very determined and stubborn person!” I believe it was at that very moment that I decided I would somehow, someday return to college.
It took me a long time and a lot of hard work but I finally returned to the University of Texas in the fall of 1983 – a year and a half after almost dying. The next few years in Austin were very difficult for me, but I truly believe that in order to see beauty in life you have to experience some unpleasantness. Maybe I have experienced too much unpleasantness, but I believe in living each day to the fullest, and doing the very best I can.
And each new day was very busy and very full, for besides attending classes at the University I underwent therapy three to five days each week at Brackenridge Hospital. If this were not enough I flew to Houston every other weekend to work with Tom Williams, a trainer and executive who had worked for many colleges and professional teams and also had helped many injured athletes, such as Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson. Through Tom I learned: “Nothing is impossible and never, never give up or quit.”
Early, during my therapy, my father kept repeating to me one of his favorite sayings. I have repeated it almost every day since being hurt: “Mile by mile it’s a trial; yard by yard it’s hard; but inch by inch it’s a cinch.”
I thought of those words, and I thought of Tom, my family and Sharon who believed so strongly in me as I climbed the steps to receive my diploma from the Dean of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas on that bright sunny afternoon in June of 1986. Excitement and pride filled my heart as I heard the dean announce that I had graduated with “highest honors”, been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and been chosen as one of 12 Dean’s Distinguished Graduates out of 1600 in the College of Liberal Arts.
The overwhelming emotions and feelings that I experienced at that very moment, when most of the audience gave me a standing ovation, I felt would never again be matched in my life-not even when I graduated with a masters degree in social work and not even when I became employed full time at the Texas Pain and Stress Center. But I was wrong!
On May 24, 1987, I realized that nothing could ever match the joy I felt as Sharon and I were married. Sharon, my high school sweetheart of nine years, had always stood by me, through good and bad times. To me, Sharon is my miracle, my diamond in a world filled with problems, hurt, and pain. It was Sharon who dropped out of school when I was hurt so that she could constantly be at my side. She never wavered or gave up on me.
It was her faith and love that pulled me through so many dark days. While other nineteen year old girls were going to parties and enjoying life, Sharon devoted her life to my recovery. That, to me, is the true definition of love.
After our beautiful wedding I continued working part time at the Pain Center and completed my work for a masters degree. We were extremely happy, but even happier when we learned Sharon was pregnant.
On July 11, 1990 at 12:15 a.m. Sharon woke me with the news: “We need to go to the hospital… my water just broke.” I couldn’t help but think how ironic it was that my life almost ended in a convenience store and now on the date “7-11” we were about to bring a new life into this world. This time it was my turn to help Sharon as she had helped me over those past years.
She was in labor for 15 hours. At 3:10 p.m. Sharon and I experienced the birth of our beautiful daughter, Shawn Elyse Segal!
Tears of joy and happiness came to my eyes as our healthy, alert, wonderful daughter entered this world. We anxiously counted her 10 fingers and her 10 toes and watched her wide eyes take in the world about her. It was truly a beautiful picture that was etched in my mind forever as she lie in her mother’s waiting arms, just minutes after her birth. At that moment I thanked God for blessing us with the greatest miracle of all-Shawn Elyse Segal.
日子過的很繁忙、很充實，除了讀書，每周我還在要在布萊肯瑞吉醫院接受三到五次的治療。如果這還不夠忙的話，我還要隔周和湯姆·威廉斯飛到奧斯汀工作。湯姆是一個教練兼主管，他曾效力于許多大學校隊和職業聯隊，并幫助過許多受傷的運動員，如：厄爾·坎貝爾 和 艾立克·迪克森。從湯姆的身上我學到“沒有什么是不可能的，千萬千萬不要放棄，永不放棄?！?br /> 早在我接受治療的時候，父親總是重復他最愛的那句話，每天當我感到痛苦的時候我也對自己重復那句話，那就是“腳踏實地，切勿急功近利?！?br /> 1986年六月那個陽光明媚的午后，當我步履蹣跚地走上德克薩斯大學迪安文學院的臺階接受文憑的時候，我思索著這些話，想到湯姆、父母還有沙倫，他們都那么堅定地給予了我信任。當我聽到院長宣布我以最高榮譽畢業時，我的心中充滿了驕傲和自信。接著他還宣布我被選入美國大學優等生榮譽學會，并在1600名畢業生中當選為12名迪安文學院的杰出畢業生之一。