A hope note
‘A world turned for me in Mrs. Burrows Smith’s English class.’
Little David Brinkley, like many people, got little affirmation at home. When David was 8, his father died. And David was, from birth, an embarrassment to his mother.
David’s older sisters told him their mother cried uncontrollably after his birth. She was 42 when he was born, and among her Presbyterian women friends in the small-town South in 1920, it was thought to be scandalous for a married woman to be having babies that late in life.
Brinkley writes in his autobiography: ‘I now believe that for every day of my life at home with her, every time she looked at me, when she could not avoid looking at me, I reminded her of the agony and suffering that came with me when I was born.’
One day, David, budding writer, wrote something and walked upstairs to show it to his mother. She glanced at it briefly, threw it in his face and said: ‘Why are you wasting your time on this foolishness?’
What Mrs. Burrows Smith did in her English class gave David Brinkley the shot of confidence in himself as a writer that he needed to evolve into a world-class journalist. After months of reading and grading his compositions, she said to him one day, ‘David, I think you ought to be a journalist.’
Many children, like little David Brinkley, for whatever reason, aren’t going to get ‘the blessing’ at home. It’s going to have to be a neighbor, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a church leader, a school teacher, a coach or some other adult who seizes the opportunity to bestow the blessing.
What a stem-winding thought: our word of praise and affirmation may ‘turn the world’ for some child.