Overcoming Challenges in Life

Overcoming Challenges in Life

Step out On nothingI read an email from BetterWorldBooks.com yesterday, to inform me that November is National Family Literacy Month and they are offering 4 used children’s books for $10. Anyway, that was not what caught my attention. If you had read my previous post ‘Building a Better World through Education,’ you would know that I believe that literacy can change a person’s life.

You may ask, “what difference will it make?” I wouldn’t know. But if you know who is Byron Pitts, I believe it made a great deal of difference for him. From CBS News, Byron Pitts was named a contributor to “60 Minutes” and chief national correspondent for “The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” in Jan. 2009. He had been a national correspondent since February 2006. He was what caught my attention when I read the email from BetterWorldBooks.com yesterday.

Pitts was one of CBS News’ lead reporters during the Sept. 11 attacks and won a national Emmy award for his coverage. Pitts other awards include a national Emmy Award for his coverage of the Chicago train wreck in 1999 and a National Association of Black Journalists Award. He is also the recipient of four Associated Press Awards and six regional Emmy Awards.

And yet a therapist in elementary informed his mother that he could not read. According to The Early Show, Pitts is functionally illiterate at 12 years old and who stuttered until he was 20. Could you imagine him ending up in the field of journalism, let alone a chief national correspondent and a “60 Minutes” contributor?

Pitts attributes his success by being surrounded by “regular folks,” including coaches, teachers, the priest from his high school and his college professors. To Pitts, his mother has always been around to support him and to encourage him in good days and bad days.

Byron Pitts story reminds me of the story I read about Thomas Edison. According to Wikipedia, the young Edison’s mind often wandered, and his teacher, the Reverend Engle, was overheard calling him “addled.” Edison recalled later, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.” Both were fortunate that there was someone in their lives who believe and have faith in them.

How often have a well-meaning statement done more harm than good? When someone says you cannot achieve something, that person not only limits you to his/her thought, but also prevents you from reaching your potential. The next time when we speak, should we not take care not to kill someone’s dream? Will you be one who will speak words of encouragement or one who will cause the death of a dream?

I hope the story of Byron Pitts will inspire you to overcome the challenges in your life now.

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31 thoughts on “Overcoming Challenges in Life

  1. Jude

    It’s always a good thing to encourage with kind words and it takes so little. I would hate to think I have ever said anything to discourage anyone for going for their dreams. Take care BK.
    .-= Jude´s last blog ..Ethan Day In Lancaster =-.

  2. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Christine, indeed. Words are very powerful. We must watch what we speak.

    @ Pam, that is great! With your words, I’m sure it will benefit the students long after they graduated from elementary. 🙂

    @ Ruthi, moral support especially from loved ones and friends are very important. It may be an individual journey but one does not travel alone.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Melissa, he sure is an inspiration. At time when many others are succumbing to their challenges, he has shown through his own example that if you work hard, you can overcome your challenge.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Jannie, Pitts is certainly an inspiration for all who are facing challenges now. I hope his story can give strength to people who are facing challenges in their lives now; that all things are possible when they put their mind to work.

      @ Eren, yes. Byron is indeed fortunate to have a mother who has been very supportive of him from young. If she was to believe in what the therapist said about Byron, he may not have been what he is today.

  3. Eren Mckay

    Very inspirational indeed! With persistence and hard work we can go far in life. We just have to keep at it and keep learning. I have always been a huge fan of phonics. I taught my boys to read. I absolutely love seeing a child discover the wonderful world of reading.
    It truly is amazing what Byron was able to accomplish with the support of his family and his teachers. I want to always do the most that I can to inspire my kids.
    Blessings to you,
    .-= Eren Mckay´s last blog ..Discover how to get rid of anxiety biblically =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Shu Fen, thank you for making me checked up an online dictionary to find out the meaning of nihilistic.

      Which one describes you best? 🙂


      1. total rejection of established laws and institutions.
      2. anarchy, terrorism, or other revolutionary activity.
      3. total and absolute destructiveness, esp. toward the world at large and including oneself: the power-mad nihilism that marked Hitler’s last years.
      4. Philosophy.
      a. an extreme form of skepticism: the denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth.
      b. nothingness or nonexistence.
      5. annihilation of the self, or the individual consciousness, esp. as an aspect of mystical experience.

      @ Will, yes, you are right. I need to know what the meaning of functional illiteracy is too. Something from Wikipedia:

      An illiterate person cannot read or write at all, for all practical purposes. A functionally illiterate person can read and possibly write simple sentences with a limited vocabulary, but cannot read or write well enough to deal with the everyday requirements of life in their own society.

      For example, an illiterate person may not even understand the written words cat or dog, and may not even recognize the letters of the alphabet. A functionally illiterate person may well understand these words and more, but cannot read well enough to understand the things they must read in order to get by in their daily life, such as job advertisements, past-due notices, newspaper articles, complex signs and posters, etc.

      While pure illiteracy has approximately the same characteristics worldwide, the characteristics of functional illiteracy vary from one culture to another, as some cultures require better reading and writing skills than others. A reading level that might be sufficient to make a farmer functionally literate in a rural area of a developing country might qualify as functional illiteracy in an urban area of a technologically advanced country.

  4. Will

    Great clip! One thing I have always wondered about illiteracy is the numbers. You often read things like he said, “30 million people in the U.S. are functionally illiterate”. That is a huge number and seems impossible. I wonder exactly what the definition of functional illiteracy is? I think I will Google that question.
    .-= Will´s last blog ..Did You Know? Cow Tails. =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ The Fitness Diva, yes, I’m sure his book is awesome. Will get a copy from the library if I can find it. 🙂

      @ VanillaSeven, indeed, we need to be constantly reminded to keep it going when the going gets tough.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Cathy, I couldn’t agree more with you that words can be harmful and yet the right words spoken at the right time can elevate someone when he/she is feeling down.