The majority of us go through life lending a helping hand wherever we can, not really planning to try to save the world in any huge way. Most of us don't have the ability to make a huge difference in the lives of great numbers of people at any one time but in general we do attempt to make a difference in whatever small way we can. Whether that be by volunteering at a hospital, helping the homeless, reading in a classroom on a regular basis, or simply raising our own children to the best of our capabalitiies, we all hopefully make a difference in at least one other persons life during our lifetime. Although not everyone has the time to volunteer or the ability to provide their services somewhere, even a smile as we pass by a stranger can brighten someone elses day, a kind word to a child or a moment taken to listen to a friend's problems can change their outlook and make a problem that seemed insurmountable suddenly manageable.
When I began teaching primary school I believed my way of helping society was through increasing literacy skills in our youngest generation of readers. However as the years progressed I hoped to achieve this through writing children's books and spreading a love of reading with fun and laughter instead.
Imagine my surprise when just last week I discovereed I was also lending a helping hand in a completely different way with my books than I ever expected or planned.
I always enjoy spreading a helping hand by encouraging home reading through my facebook group "Raising Awesome Readers" as well as giving away many of my children's books to people in need. Earlier in the year I gave a copy of each of my books to a fellow who lives a somewhat difficult family life. He happens to be a "fly in/fly out" dad to three kids, one of which is severly Autistic and another with Aspergers Syndrome. You can imagine the difficulty and frustration not only for him livng away from his family three weeks at a time as well as his wife trying to manage while he is away. So I gave him copies of Gingerbread Aliens, Aliens Shenanigans and Emma the Eager Emu to take home on his R&R to read with the kids. He was so grateful to be given a simple opportunity to read aloud and share a few precious moments with his children.
I hadn't heard anything from him, nor did I expect to, until I ran into him just last week. I was delighted to learn that not only did his family enjoy all the books very much but his wife, who is a psychologist, found the stories were so good for her children she began taking the books to work.
Her clients are mostly children of parents going through break ups mainly from the rigors of the fly in/fly out life style. She is using my books on a regular basis with the children as they find the characters real and relatable. My stories are spreading a helping hand to help chidren overcome anxieties, fear, tension, sibling rivalry. lack of self-confidence and helping them to learn to face conseequences for their actions all in an entertaining and light-hearted manner. The use of the books have become so successful, she is now lending them to her colleagues.
It is not only nice to know that in my own small way I am making an imapct in childrens lives different to that which I had ever anticipated. It is also rather overwhelming to know that children that need love and understanding are gaining so much more than just a simple smile from reading the pages of my children's books.