Some years ago I was back in Indiana to speak at a function in Indianapolis for the Indiana Golf Association. That evening I was going on to Terre Haute to spend time with relatives. On my way there it was a nice summer afternoon so I decided to stop in Rockville, Indiana, a town where I had once taught and coached.
Previously, I had called ahead to a good friend that lived in Rockville and we made plans to meet and visit. It was something I tried to do on occasions when I was back in that area. As I knocked on his door I heard him yell, "Hey, Larry come on in, make yourself at home there in the kitchen, I'll be with you a little bit." I found myself some cold ice tea and sat down at the kitchen table to read over the local newspaper. As I took my first drink I heard someone say, "Run Jane run, run Dick run." What gives? Then I heard someone else say, "Run Spot run, run Spot run." Now this really had my attention.
Later I learned what was taking place. For several years my good friend, John had four adults of various sizes and shapes come each week to his home so that he could help and teach them to read. After they left, John told me, "They can't read. Larry you would be surprised how many folks in this county don't know how to read," My friend John was quite a man. He's worthy of a story for another time.
I remember one of the times my wife and I were traveling in Europe. We had just come across the border from Switzerland into Italy. The area of Lake Como. Beautiful, beautiful country. It was near lunch time as we came into this small Italian village. Going into this restaurant it was evident no one there spoke English and for sure no Adamson could speak any Italian. I remember we ordered our meal by pointing at pictures on a menu. Later I thought what it would be like to visit a doctor not speaking the language and trying to tell someone why they were sick. Or can you imagine not being able to read the instructions a doctor might give in the medicine prescribed?
Recently my wife and I attended a recognition and awards dinner here in West Nashville under the sponsorship of the Nashville Adult Literacy Council. It was an impressive evening. I learned that over 80,000 adults in Nashville cannot read. I was touched when I heard that one lady's goal was to learn to read well enough to read her Bible and read to her grandchildren. Another lady never missed a class for two and a half years. She took her lunch hour to come to be taught English and how to read. Another woman said that learning to read was like a person who had wandered in the wilderness for a long time and now had found the promise land.
Sitting across from my wife and I that evening was David, a young man, twenty-four years old, who came to Nashville five years ago from Guatemala. David, in his broken English, shared his story with my wife and I. Proudly he told us of the business he and his cousins had, and he smiled as he handed me his business card. Earlier in the evening we had spoken with his mentor, his teacher; a lady that gives up time weekly to meet at a public library to help David learn to read, and she spoke of his eagerness to learn.
David told me in his broken English, "I'm doing things I never thought possible, like buying my own car, speaking English, and doing construction work by myself. Thanks to this program, I have a chance to work by myself for the future."
The Nashville Adult Literacy Council is an excellent work in our community.This past year forty people from this program have been able to gain their American citizenship.
Taking time to help another obtain skills and a quality of life that otherwise they would not have is one of the most valuable gifts one can give to another. I would encourage each of us to look around and see what gift(s) that might be shared with another. I challenge each of us to think about doing something that makes a difference for another. The Nashville Adult Literacy Council, its staff and volunteers are doing just that.
If you would like to make a donation or gift to the Nashville Adult Literacy Council you could do so by texting or calling 615-427-3291. Or going online at Http//Nashvilleliteracy.org/donate
November 15, 2017