The Power of Influence
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up."1
As a child in school in Australia Gordon had a problem with dyslexia, but nobody was able to diagnose his problem at the time. For years his mother took him to speech therapy, and he practiced saying, "Thora thrust thick thistles through the thinning hedge," five thousand times!
What turned Gordon's life around was his fourth grade primary school teacher, Miss Higgins, who called the class to order when they laughed at Gordon's attempt to read before the class. You could imagine how terrible Gordon must have felt every time other kids poked fun at him because of his inability to read. I would have felt devastated. But thank God for an understanding teacher who said to the class: "Do not laugh at his reading. One day Gordon will be the best reader in the whole school." Little did Miss Higgins or his school mates realize just who Gordon would become. And little did Miss Higgins realize that her encouragement planted the seed to motivate Gordon towards an extremely fruitful and productive life.
Today Gordon is known as the Reverend Dr., The Honorable Gordon Moyes, MHR.
Besides being the senior minister and superintendent of the very influential Wesley Central Mission in Sydney, Australia, Gordon has been a radio broadcaster for 44 years, the host of a weekly TV program on the National Nine Network for 26 years, and is a Member of the House of Representatives in the state government of New South Wales. Gordon is still dyslexic and still mirror reads God as dog—which presents quite a problem for a minister of religion!
In his appeal to the state government for children with dyslexia Rep. Moyes said, "The effect of dyslexia in society possibly includes unemployment, poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse and dependency and even family breakdown, and as a result dyslexic people are over represented in the prison population, are more likely to drop out of school, and often withdraw from their friends and family or attempt suicide.
"Children with dyslexia often have high IQs but poor reading and writing skills. They are often sent out of classes or to the back of the room as they become distracted because of the frustrating nature of their condition. You can understand my concern for such children of our members or in our Sunday Schools. Dyslexia is a disability, and the Government should supply support for such students."2
May we all remember Gordon's story and always be an encourager to children, teens, and adults who struggle with any kind of a handicap.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for every teacher and all who give the gift of encouragement to those who struggle with life's handicaps. Thank you, too, for all who encouraged me when I needed it most. Please help me always to be sensitive, loving, kind and encouraging to any and all fellow strugglers who come into my life and/or who cross my path. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV).