sound to his brain without the aid of ears.
As soon as the child was old enough to cooperate, I would fill his
mind so completely with a BURNING DESIRE to hear, that Nature would,
by methods of her own, translate it into physical reality.
All this thinking took place in my own mind, but I spoke of it to
no one. Every day I renewed the pledge I had made to myself, not
to accept a deaf mute for a son.
As he grew older, and began to take notice of things around him,
we observed that he had a slight degree of hearing. When he reached
the age when children usually begin talking, he made no attempt
to speak, but we could tell by his actions that he could hear certain
sounds slightly. That was all I wanted to know! I was convinced
that if he could hear, even slightly, he might develop still greater
hearing capacity. Then something happened which gave me hope. It
came from an entirely unexpected source.
We bought a victrola. When the child heard the music for the first
time, he went into ecstasies, and promptly appropriated the machine.
He soon showed a preference for certain records, among them, "It's
a Long Way to Tipperary." On one occasion, he played that piece
over and over, for almost two hours, standing in front of the victrola,
with his teeth clamped on the edge of the case. The significance
of this self-formed habit of his did not become clear to us until
years afterward, for we had never heard of the principle of "bone
conduction" of sound at that time.
Shortly after he appropriated the victrola, I discovered that he
could hear me quite clearly when I spoke with my lips touching his
mastoid bone, or at the base of the brain. These discoveries placed
in my possession the necessary media by which I began to translate
into reality my Burning Desire to help my son develop hearing and
speech. By that time he was making stabs at speaking certain words.
The outlook was far from encouraging, but DESIRE BACKED BY FAITH
knows no such word as impossible.
Having determined that he could hear the sound of my voice plainly,
I began, immediately, to transfer to his mind the desire to hear
and speak. I soon discovered that the child enjoyed bedtime stories,
so I went to work, creating stories designed to develop in him self-reliance,
imagination, and a keen desire to hear and to be normal.
There was one story in particular, which I emphasized by giving
it some new and dramatic coloring each time it was told. It was
designed to plant in his mind the thought that his affliction was
not a liability, but an asset of great value. Despite the fact that
all the philosophy I had examined clearly indicated that EVERY ADVERSITY
BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT ADVANTAGE, I must confess
that I had not the slightest idea how this affliction could ever
become an asset. However, I continued my