Guest Post: People Get Trapped Into Thinking About Just One Way of Doing Things

Originally Written By: Katie Kemp, Parent of an Anchor Center child.

Life rarely turns out how we originally dreamed it would.  One of my favorite topics is finding the beauty in tragedy.  For me, it started 5 years ago when life turned for the unexpected.  I learned that I would be the parent of a blind child.  My husband Adam and I both had never known anyone personally who was blind and now we were faced with parenting one.  The Anchor Center was our hope.

I never anticipated how hard it would be to leave the Anchor Center now that she’s a graduate. So this last year they tried to “wean” us from the Anchor Center by having us go to our neighborhood preschool 2 days a week and Anchor the other days.  This was my daughter’s first experience being in a typical classroom with sighted children.

The first few days of preschool came with that awkward silence from all of us, the others parents and children as we lined up outside the classroom door waiting to sign in.  It’s that stage where everyone is sizing each other up, being polite and keeping to themselves.  For a child without vision, this stage is not okay.  Hallie was about to burst with excitement to meet everyone in her class.  So standing there politely was not going to work.  To get an idea of how many people were lined up Hallie did her typical, go down the row and ask each person their name, explain that she sees with her hands and asks if she can shake their hands.  Well, Hallie was busy meeting and greeting while my very busy 3 yr old son Carter got a little too far from me.  I went to chase him down and came back to Hallie meeting “Emma’s mom.”  Now, I have to tell you that Emma’s mom is quite a bit shorter than me so where Hallie would typically reach up and find my stomach was Emma’s mom’s chest.  Well, I came back to Hallie reaching up to the front of Emma’s mom patting with both hands saying loudly, “Emma’s mom, do you have twins in your tummy?” Oh I was so embarrassed, and after school that day we talked about how to properly meet someone and how to touch along their arm to their shoulder.  So now Hallie has learned that twins are in fact one big lump not two.

Even though the Anchor Center didn’t teach Hallie about twins, they in all seriousness have taught her so much more.  The amount of life skills they have taught her is innumerable.  I believe the first reason the Anchor Center gives so much hope is that they focus on the human potential despite a disability.  From our very first visit at the Anchor Center to the last we were given hope of what Hallie WOULD be able to do.

Adapting. One of the first lessons. Something that makes most people feel uncomfortable.  We all like routine, typical, and predictable.  Adapting requires thinking outside the box and focusing on the new solution.

Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind man to summit Mount Everest who is also on the Anchor Center Advisory Board said, “People get trapped into thinking about just one way of doing things.”   The Anchor Center has thought outside the box and gives blind children the opportunity to understand concepts around them.  For example, a sighted child can easily learn about what a penguin does by watching a video clip of them sliding across the ice or they could open a book and glance at a picture of a fire truck and receive a load of information instantly.  For a blind child, they have to experience and see it differently.  The Anchor Center gives children the opportunity to learn these concepts.  And so for a penguin, we went to an ice skating rank and glided as if we were penguins.

There is purpose in tragedy.  There is purpose in the annual Cherrity Pie Festival to benefit Anchor Center which returns to the Denver Botanic Gardens in Littleton, Colorado on September 15, 2012 from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM.

Our donation goal for this year is $20,000!  But we can’t do it alone, we need your help. Visit or to contribute.  For more information or leave a comment to this post and qualify to win two (2) tickets to the event!

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