The cabin you see here is our home in the mountains of West Virginia. It is peaceful here and at the time, I loved to run along the mountain paths early in the morning before most of the world gets up. I was running through the trails
one day- thinking about Nancy lying in bed, asleep, in the cabin. I started to pray again. "Lord, I'm in over my head and could sure use some guidance. Where would You have me turn to help my Nancy"?
This may sound hokey, but the best way to describe what happened next is simply to say I got a flash of inspiration. While I was running and praying for help, this thought came from "out of the blue:"
The inspiration, the flash, was, "The basis for all learning is analogous thinking". Hot is to cold - as cold is to hot. Short is to tall - as tall is to ??? Those are known as Opposites (Antonym) Analogies.
I called a company named Hartley Courseware, a leading producer of educational software, and ordered the Beginners and Advanced Analogies programs.
For the next 8 months or so we worked on the first Beginners' analogy over and over,
“ Hot is to cold- as cold is to ???” You know the answer is HOT, but Nancy just didn't get it. She couldn't put together what it was I was seeking. I was getting discouraged.
One morning we were up in our cabin having breakfast. I was in a terrible mood because I was facing true defeat for perhaps the first time in my life.
"One more time", I thought to myself. "Once more, and if she doesn't get it then, she isn't going to. " “Nancy, tell me. Hot is to cold- as cold is to ???"
She said, "HOT!"
I nearly stopped breathing. I asked her again, “Hot is to cold- as cold is to???” She said, “HOT” again.
I started jumping up and down, running around screaming at the top of my lungs. Nancy started to cry. I was crying, too.
After a few minutes of unimaginable bliss, we settled down. Then, for some strange reason, I asked her, “Nancy, if hot is to cold- as cold is to hot, then short is to tall- as tall is to ???"
She stared at me blankly. She didn't have a clue. And then I realized she didn't understand the concept at all. She had simply memorized the answer, having heard me say it so many times in the months before.
I was totally and utterly crushed. My soul was bleeding to death, and I nearly gave it all up right then and there.
And then I remembered the refrain from a song that has become my guiding beacon. It is from Kenny Roger's "The Gambler." You know the refrain, "...Every hand's a winner, and every hand's a loser..."
I threw myself back into the battle with renewed energy and resolve. We worked on that one analogy for another 6 months. Over and over, trying every possible way to phrase it so she could understand.
Finally one morning we were up in our A-frame having breakfast. I was in a terrible mood because I was facing defeat for perhaps the second time in my life.
After more than a year, I thought to myself, "One more time. Once more, and if she doesn't get it then, she isn't going to."
“Nancy, tell me: Hot is to cold- as cold is to ???"
She said, "HOT"!
"Don't get excited," I warned myself. "Chill out. You've been here before."
Very quietly and very gently, I asked, "Nancy, if hot is to cold- as cold is to hot, then short is to tall as tall is to ???”
She said, "Short".
My heart nearly stopped. I asked again, "Short is to tall- as tall is to ???" She said SHORT again.
It was now or never. I tried one she had not heard before. “O.K., tell me, Nancy: ‘Fat is to skinny- as rich is to ???’" She said,
SHE FINALLY GOT IT! SHE’S REALLY GOT IT!! Can you imagine what I was feeling?
But no celebration. No whooping and hollering. We got up and went back to the computer. I started the analogies program, and she sailed through the entire disk of Beginning Analogies in less than 30 minutes. Months and months of work.
All our hopes riding on one shot, and she came through!
You want to know if miracles are real? You just read of one.
I modified some of the few educational software programs available at the time, and little by little, over the course of the next several years, got her back to where she can function in most areas about as well as any of us, just
a little slower. But I don't forget we started by re-learning the alphabet, 1 + 1= 2, and CAT spells cat. And I know why you should never give up hope .
Even now, after so many years, I cry when I read this story.