Dedicated to the little boy in the booth beside mine at Frank's Pizza. You are me, and I am you. You are the reason why I do what I do. I am very sorry I let you down.
May I Introduce You To The Champions of Decoding Dyslexia (D.D.)
I've been at war with ignorance since the age of seven; first as its victim and later as its opponent. Ignorance is an enemy that is unaware of its own existence, has no leadership, organizational structure, field operations, headquarters, or plan of attack. It's an enemy that most often presents troops disguised as kind, innocent, well-meaning people. The truth is, its soldiers have no idea that they are in the heat of battle.
On the other hand, our army has millions of well-trained foot soldiers in the form of parents, students, teachers, educators, advocates, and tutors. Our side has gained some ground, but it is hardly enough because of the enormity of the other side's forces. Our half of the battlefield is littered with countless casualties while our enemy, during the entirety of this epic fight, has suffered not even one loss related to this struggle for equality.
How do we ever win this war? Can we possibly be the victor against the chaos of Ignorance? There is only one way: we turn their soldiers to our side. Instead of warriors, we become diplomats. We work the room, shake hands and make friends. We tell our stories and make an argument that is so compelling that we swell our ranks with the converted.
We must put on our best faces and place our collective voice in the ears of legislators as we learn what motivates them. If we have votes we have influence and must politely wield those powers as we make our compelling argument.
I wish I could tell you that I'm so smart that this plan is my idea. It's not. This is the plan of attack that I have observed being used by the grassroots organization known as Decoding Dyslexia.
Decoding Dyslexia is made up of everyday families. They've been thrust headlong into the roles of change agents and diplomats. They smile, shake hands, and whip votes. They are no longer just parents, teachers, admins and students attending IEP meetings at their neighborhood schoolhouse. They are now the catalyst for legislation that is slowly but surely bringing change. They are fully aware that the legislation they lobby for will come too late to help their own situation. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the stuff that champions are made of! Please, join your local chapter of Decoding Dyslexia. Like the families of D.D., you didn't choose dyslexia, dyslexia chose you.
The big engine behind D.D. is moms. There are dads, too, but a lot of dads are late to the party; just another fact we must change and will discuss later in this book. Speaking of being unfashionably late, society has been historically slow to recognize the skills, talents, and formidable intellect of women, and quite frankly the joke is on anyone who ever was, or may still be, of that mindset. As an observer of patterns, and more specifically, patterns of human nature, I'm in total awe of the smarts, tenacity, and perseverance of women-turned-mothers-turned-advocates in the D.D. Movement. If I have a Rottweiler in my back pocket, these ladies are carrying ten Bengal tigers in theirs. The whys and hows of their abilities to affect change in education via government are not lost on me. They are beyond formidable, opting for a "diplomacy first" model. But don't say you weren't warned: God help anyone who underestimates a skilled mother advocating for children."
We all have a responsibility to continue to fight the fight for services, even after our fight is over. We must go back into the shadows and find other families who are just beginning this journey.
Did you ever wonder if you're on a mission or if there might be a special reason why you've been placed on this planet? Mark Twain said, "The two best days of your life are the day that you are born, and the day you find out why." Perhaps by the end of this book, you will have your answer. You can step up and make this your fight, as well.
Join Decoding Dyslexia, because I think you have the stuff of a champion, and I think you know it, too. Decoding Dyslexia, now in all fifty states, gives me goosebumps!
Run, don't walk, and join the nearest chapter. If there isn't one near you, start one!