There was a time we understood that things some people called “disabilities” didn’t stop people from being brilliant. Then something in the culture changed and these challenges became social obstacles as well as physical ones. Things are beginning to swing back to understanding that an obstacle is just something to overcome and not a limit that cannot be passed; but there is still work to be done. Hopefully though stories like this one can help with that!
Sara D. Moore was sitting on her sofa reading a book when she suddenly heard the distinct notes of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” being plunked out on her keyboard across the living room. She turned her head and there stood her 11-month-old son, Avett Ray Maness, who had pulled himself up to the keys. He was barefoot, on his tiptoes, playing the song from memory with clear joy on his face. This would already be remarkable, given that he had only heard the song played from a toy he owned, but is even more so when you know that Avett is legally blind. In fact he has optic nerve hypoplasia, an underdeveloped optic nerve. This has left him completely blind in his left eye and with limited visibility in his right. But that did nothing to stop his hearing.
“Once he listens to a song, he can play it,” Moore said. By her son’s second birthday, he could play “Happy Birthday” to himself, and, at age 3, he developed a fascination with Adele. Before he had completed preschool she was receiving requests for him to perform at local schools and community events. His popularity was fueled by his love of playing and his mother’s encouragement to share his talents with the world. That fascination with Adele led to him asking to make a video so he could talk to Adele and sing her song “Hello” for her. That video went viral on Facebook as have several other videos he has since released.
Avett is now in first grade, and learning to read Braille and walk with a cane, has gone through a few phases of music. His passion has shifted from Adele through other pop artists and now he is currently on a Classical kick. “I love performing Bach’s Minuet in G,” he said. “And at my last piano lesson, I told my teacher that I also want to learn the Minuet in G Minor. I’m not as much into Adele anymore.” Avett’s mother marvels daily that although he has never read sheet music and often needs help to get around, he has no problem finding the keys on a piano. When he performs he is not some blind boy who needs help, he is a brilliant performer. “I sometimes have to remind myself: ‘That’s my kid out there,’ ” she said.
Let that be how we view all of God’s children what ever challenges they might face. Let us remember that each and every one of us has a great gift and should we be given the opportunity it would show and make the world a better place.
You can read more about Avett, his story, and his family in your Good News Story of the Day here.
Story and Image from the Washington Post.