Sunday, November 27


In order be able to participate we are often dependent on someone or something which will allow us to do so. Many of us sit in the sidelines not because we choose to do so, but because we don’t feel equipped to do so. There are many people who may be excluded for a range of reasons.

(Where are you? A map of the www, but is everyone able to plug in?)

Some people do not have the technical resources to participate. Digital networks provide the opportunity for interaction, but not everyone can afford the equipment. For other people the obstacles to participation may be psychological - years of being told that you are useless may become an insurmountable obstacle to participation in almost anything. And if you add to the psychological obstacles, physical disabilities you have profound limitations.

Helen Keller was less than two years old when she came down with a fever which left her blind and deaf. She wrote, "I stood between two persons who were conversing and touched their lips. I could not understand, and was vexed. I moved my lips and gesticulated frantically without result. This made me so angry at times that I kicked and screamed until I was exhausted."

At age six Keller met Anne Sullivan Macy, the tutor who taught Keller the alphabet and thereby opened up the world to her. She eventually attended Radcliffe College, where she graduated with honors in 1904. Keller became an activist and lecturer, she championed Socialism and women's rights. She also founded and promoted the American Federation for the Blind.

What can we do to enable those on the sidelines to participate?

Here are some Keller quotes:

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.


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The opinions expressed on this site are those of Mark Waddington and not his employer. If I have made any errors or published anything unfairly please bring it to my attention and I will make corrections if appropriate.