practice of wrapping that philosophy in bedtime stories,
hoping the time would come when he would find some plan by which
his handicap could be made to serve some useful purpose.
Reason told me plainly, that there was no adequate compensation
for the lack of ears and natural hearing equipment. DESIRE backed
by FAITH, pushed reason aside, and inspired me to carry on.
As I analyze the experience in retrospect, I can see now, that my
son's faith in me had much to do with the astounding results. He
did not question anything I told him. I sold him the idea that he
had a distinct advantage over his older brother, and that this advantage
would reflect itself in many ways. For example, the teachers in
school would observe that he had no ears, and, because of this,
they would show him special attention and treat him with extraordinary
kindness. They always did. His mother saw to that, by visiting the
teachers and arranging with them to give the child the extra attention
necessary. I sold him the idea, too, that when he became old enough
to sell newspapers, (his older brother had already become a newspaper
merchant), he would have a big advantage over his brother, for the
reason that people would pay him extra money for his wares, because
they could see that he was a bright, industrious boy, despite the
fact he had no ears.
We could notice that, gradually, the child's hearing was improving.
Moreover, he had not the slightest tendency to be self-conscious,
because of his affliction. When he was about seven, he showed the
first evidence that our method of servicing his mind was bearing
fruit. For several months he begged for the privilege of selling
newspapers, but his mother would not give her consent. She was afraid
that his deafness made it unsafe for him to go on the street alone.
Finally, he took matters in his own hands. One afternoon, when he
was left at home with the servants, he climbed through the kitchen
window, shinnied to the ground, and set out on his own. He borrowed
six cents in capital from the neighborhood shoemaker, invested it
in papers, sold out, reinvested, and kept repeating until late in
the evening. After balancing his accounts, and paying back the six
cents he had borrowed from his banker, he had a net profit of forty-two
cents. When we got home that night, we found him in bed asleep,
with the money tightly clenched in his hand.
His mother opened his hand, removed the coins, and cried. Of all
things! Crying over her son's first victory seemed so inappropriate.
My reaction was the reverse. I laughed heartily, for I knew that
my endeavor to plant in the child's mind an attitude of faith in
himself had been successful.
His mother saw, in his first business venture, a little deaf boy
who had gone out in the streets and risked his life to earn money.
I saw a brave, ambitious, self-reliant little business man whose
stock in himself had been increased a hundred percent, because he
had gone into business on his own initiative, and had won.