May and Louise have been to see Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont, several times and have had several young men attend. The Greenwood School community and culture is one of the most accepting and consistent ones we have ever seen! The students and faculty live and work together, and students who have struggled to fit in elsewhere find that their differences are embraced. One of the parts of a tour recently was learning about their “social pragmatics” curriculum. Park of the curriculum is having an “idiom of the day.” Many kids with language based learning differences (LBLD) have trouble with slang sayings or phrases. The day we were there, the idiom of the day was : “to get a handle on things.” What does it to mean to get a “handle” on things? Of course, this idiom is meant to be a metaphor and not literal.
We are really glad to see that Greenwood has been featured in an article from USA Today for their work to teach boys to memorize and recite out loud the Gettysburg address. For most of us, speaking is public is a stressful experience; for boys with reading and language difficulties, it can feel terrifying! It is therefore such a confidence building experience for the boys at Greenwood School to learn to memorize the Gettysburg Address and to publicly recite it at their school. At Greenwood School, we can ssure you that there would be encouragement, patience, and praise for such an attempt.
Here is at least one of the versions of the address so you can get a sense of the difficulty with the words, the content, and their meaning for our nation.
“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. but, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” – Abraham Lincoln
Way to go, Greenwood!