"How do you account for your remarkable accomplishment in life?"
Queen Victoria of England asked Helen Keller. "How do you explain the
fact that even though you were both blind and deaf, you were able to
accomplish so much?"
Ms. Keller's answer is a tribute to her dedicated teacher. "If it had
not been for Anne Sullivan, the name of Helen Keller would have remained
According to speaker Zig Ziglar, "Little Annie" Sullivan, as she was
called when she was young, was no stranger to hardship. She was almost
sightless herself (due to a childhood fever) and was, at one time,
diagnosed as hopelessly "insane" by her by caregivers. She was locked in
the basement of a mental institution outside of Boston. On occasion,
Little Annie would violently attack anyone who came near. Most of the
time she generally ignored everyone in her presence.
An elderly nurse believed there was hope, however, and she made it her
mission to show love to the child. Every day she visited Little Annie.
For the most part, the child did not acknowledge the nurse's
presence, but she still continued to visit. The kindly woman left
cookies for her and spoke words of love and encouragement. She believed
Little Annie could recover, if only she were shown love.
Eventually, doctors noticed a change in the girl. Where they once
witnessed anger and hostility, they now noted an emerging gentleness and
love. They moved her upstairs where she continued to improve. Then the
day finally came when this seemingly "hopeless" child was released.
Anne Sullivan grew into a young woman with a desire to help others as
she, herself, was helped by the kindly nurse. It was she who saw the
great potential in Helen Keller. She loved her, disciplined her, played
with her, pushed her and worked with her until the flickering candle
that was her life became a beacon of light to the world. Anne Sullivan
worked wonders in Helen's life; but it was a loving nurse who first
believed in Little Annie and lovingly transformed an uncommunicative
child into a compassionate teacher.
"If it had not been for Anne Sullivan, the name of Helen Keller would
have remained unknown." But if it had not been for a kind and dedicated
nurse, the name of Anne Sullivan would have remained unknown. And so it
goes. Just how far back does the chain of redemption extend?
And how far forward will it lead?
Those you have sought to reach, whether they be in your family or
elsewhere, are part of a chain of love that can extend through the
generations. Your influence on their lives, whether or not you see
results, is immeasurable. Your legacy of dedicated kindness and caring
can transform lost and hopeless lives for years to come. You can never
overestimate the power of your love. It is a fire that,
once lit, may burn forever.