Future Reflections Special Issue, Extracurricular Activities NFB NATIONAL CONVENTION 2015
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
A proud division of the National Federation of the Blind
Crafting Your Diamond:
The Four Cs of Bringing Up Blind Children
The 2015 National Seminar and Conference
for Parents & Teachers
At the Diamond Anniversary National Convention of the
National Federation of the Blind
July 5 – 10, 2015
Rosen Centre Hotel
by Carlton Walker, President, NOPBC
Hello. As the president of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), a proud division of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), I have the privilege of writing this essay inviting you to the NOPBC’s Annual Conference which will be held at the NFB National Convention Sunday, July 5 through Saturday, July 10, 2015, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida. In addition to serving as the NOPBC president, I am employed as a teacher of students with blindness/visual impairment in Cumberland and York Counties, Pennsylvania, and I am an attorney with my own solo practice. But, by far, my heart and mind are dedicated to the NFB and the NOPBC – I relish the opportunity to share with others and learn from friends!
As I write this essay, I am enjoying a much-anticipated and long-awaited vacation with my husband, Steve, and our daughter, Anna Catherine. I am stretched out on a comfy sofa in a lounge area on our cruise ship, the Norwegian Sun. We enjoy getting away on a vacation, and a cruise offers us just what we like: lots of choices and few demands. On these cruises, we cannot help but learn about all the shopping opportunities in the Caribbean – and chief among these is shopping for diamonds.
This seemed quite apropos, given that we will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of our National Federation of the Blind this year. From the gem-buying workshops I have attended, I discovered that the “Four Cs of Diamond Buying” apply to our blind children as well. While the diamond’s four Cs are Cut, Carat, Color, and Clarity, the four Cs of rearing a successful blind child are Competence, Confidence, Creativity, and Community. Competence requires the acquisition of, practice with, and mastery of nonvisual skills and tools, such as Braille, the long white cane, and access technology. Confidence provides a platform upon which these skills may be used. Creativity brings in the beauty of the individual – a diamond unlike any other who uses these skills in new and exciting ways. Community represents giving back – competent, confident, creative blind children and adults are full members of their communities and contribute to their growth and strength.
While I cannot afford to purchase a diamond, I believe that our children, blind or sighted, are the most precious gems we will ever encounter. Like diamonds, they are strong and possess qualities that some might not expect. Diamonds are known for their beauty, but they are actually quite valuable for industrial uses that have no relation to their physical appearance. Similarly, even though outsiders may not understand it, our children help us and others to experience, and see, our world in ways we would surely have missed without them. And, like rough, uncut diamonds, our children’s beauty and value cannot be fully realized until they experience the empowerment of nonvisual skills that let them shine.
Please join us at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, July 5-10 for our annual NOPBC Conference. As noted above, we will also be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the NFB. Learning and fun, friends and family, love and laughter – you will find each of these in abundance throughout the convention, both with other parents of blind children and with blind adults -- our children’s role models. Come meet us in Orlando as we learn the tools, techniques, and philosophies that will allow our diamonds to sparkle now and throughout their lives.