Thursday, May 7, 2009

Nancy Elliot Edison, you are my inspiration

When Sandeepa of Desi Momz Club came up with an idea of a Mother’s Day Special on DMC, with the caveat being that one didn’t have to write about oneself or one’s own mother, I was immediately intrigued. I don’t fall to praise easily, and to find another mother worthy of my admiration apart from my own was a tall order.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to think too hard, there was one mother I’ve never known, who has lived centuries before me, and who I admire and who, unknown to her, has given me hope and courage. The mother of Thomas Alva Edison. Everyone knows the man, he has given us some of the most useful inventions, with his life the stuff genius is made of. But did you know that when he was seven, a schoolmaster called him slow and his brains, ‘addled’. His furious mother removed him from school and began homeschooling him herself. She was a teacher. And her faith in him and his abilities were what made him what he eventually went on to become.

Here’s the little I have researched on her:

http://books.google.co.in/books?id=fsMhuXeEtH4C&pg=PA44&dq=Thomas+Alva+Edison,+mother,+influence

Thomas Edison's forebears lived in New Jersey until their loyalty to the British crown during the American Revolution drove them to Nova Scotia, Canada. From there, later generations relocated to Ontario and fought the Americans in the War of 1812. Edison's mother, Nancy Elliott, was originally from New York until her family moved to Vienna, Canada, where she met Sam Edison, Jr., whom she later married. When Sam became involved in an unsuccessful insurrection in Ontario in the 1830s, he was forced to flee to the United States and in 1839 they made their home in Milan, Ohio.
Birth of Thomas Alva Edison
Thomas Alva Edison was born to Sam and Nancy on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio. Known as "Al" in his youth, Edison was the youngest of seven children, four of whom survived to adulthood. Edison tended to be in poor health when young.
To seek a better fortune, Sam Edison moved the family to Port Huron, Michigan, in 1854, where he worked in the lumber business.
Addled Brain?
Edison was a poor student. When a schoolmaster called Edison "addled," or slow. his furious mother took him out of the school and proceeded to teach him at home. Edison said many years later, "My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had some one to live for, some one I must not disappoint."


What can I say? Everytime I struggled with my child and his seeming slowness and reluctance to fit into the mould of learners, everytime I shed bitter tears after PTA meetings when I was told he was far far behind the class and when it was hinted that I should perhaps take him out of school and put him in a special school, I would think of this mom and her determination to refuse to accept a schoolmaster’s definition of her son’s limitations, and her ferocity in educating him herself, giving us some of the most important inventions we have in the modern day world.

I think of her and feel ashamed of myself, for feeling cowed down and hopeless and hovering on the edge of despair. And I pick myself and push my son to prove to his class teachers that he can cope. And he is not slow. He is brilliant. I know it. And I hope one day he proves it to the world. And remembers how his mother fought for him and believed in him too!

Happy Mothers Day to you too!

(posted by karmickids)

17 comments:

Asha said...

Book sounds great, will try to get it.

Happy Mother's day to you too!:)

indosungod said...

Kiran, same deal with Albert Einstein and his genius came later. If you'd call it that, his disability gave him the unique perspective to achieve what he did.
It is hard not to despair at the labels get put on children and all you ever hear from other moms is their child's achievement. I admire your perseverance in what you are doing. Good Luck to you.

Happy Mother's Day!

Sheela said...

I admire your courage and conviction! Life and society can be very negative at times, sapping our strength and shaking our belief... Happy Mother's Day to you!

Sandeepa(Bong Mom's CookBook/DesiMomzClub) said...

Hugs and a Very Happy Mothers Day to you Kiran

Kay said...

Kiran! You are my inspiration! Really!

I'm rooting for your son and you. With you, he can win the world.

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