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When courage meets faith

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

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I went to a celebration several weeks ago to honor the progress of adult literacy students. One student had passed his high school equivalency test. Another had become a US citizen, and another had obtained his driver's license.

A room full of tutors and fellow students applauded and cheered those accomplishments. The progress of other students, not as measured, but certainly significant, was also highlighted and recognized.

As a tutor participating in that program, run by Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts, I was there to celebrate the courage and progress of a group of students who have braved the potential shame of publicly admitting their reading level (elementary school level or lower) in order to ask for help. That step alone is worth celebrating. Their desire and hope for progress became greater than their fear of embarrassment.

Principles that are second nature to people who have been readers since childhood can be very confusing to a beginner.

At a session a few weeks ago, my student stumbled when reading the word "sure." Why does it sound like "shur" when there's no "h"? After mastering "sure," we came upon "surprise." Wouldn't it be "shurprise"? But she read it correctly, and that was a small triumph. These little steps of progress encourage both of us.

Some of the students also bring baggage - they're just not good in school, they don't know how to progress, or they've accepted the label that some have put on them as stupid.

A tutor's job is to help the student drop the baggage and get on to the task at hand of improving reading skills.

I've found that another part of a tutor's duty is to meet the student's courage, hope, and desire with faith. I love how courage, hope, desire, and faith all come from the same source.

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