The time I most remember about rationalizing blindness happened to me when I was five.
I was going to church with a family who had a three-year-old named Pat. “There’s a bus ahead of us,” Pat said. “And it’s full of other kids.” “There’s no bus,” I said.
We continued to argue about this and I just knew I was right. “Is there a bus?” I asked Pat’s mom. “Yes” she replied. “Why did she know this and she’s only three, and I didn’t know and I’m five?” I asked.
This was really a blow to my rather large ego, and I was perplexed. “Well,” said Pat’s mom, “she knew because she could see the bus.” “Oh, I see it now,” I rationalized. “I forgot to look.” Pat’s mom didn’t say any more. She knew that I had had all I could handle at the time, and that I would figure everything out later.
I then knew that other people were getting information in a way that I was not. I could no longer rationalize that. I had to decide what to do. I could either accept myself and be happy, or I could go around waiting for pity and handouts.
I decided that I was more like Pat and the other children than I was different, and that if I was going to be the best person I could be, I had better spend my time getting some of this information that I was missing.
I am now a teacher at the Kentucky School for the Blind and am very happy. I think we all have shortcomings, and there might still be a few things I don’t know that sighted adults have known most of their lives.
When I learn something new, I will just be filling in a gap.
When we talk to children and help them to face the reality of their situation, I think it is important to let them rationalize some.
It is a part of figuring out who they are and how they fit in. However, it is very important that they not blame everything on their visual impairment. I did this very often until someone pointed out that being in a bad mood in the morning had nothing to do with being blind, it was just the way I was.
I can’t reach high places because I’m short. I can play the piano because I have musical ability. Reaching high places and playing the piano have nothing to do with having a visual impairment.