To illustrate the power of connection, let me tell you a story about my First Grade teacher, Mrs. Eldridge.
I started school in Chatham, Massachusetts, public school in 1955 at the age of 6. I show up for First Grade, and I'm supposed to learn how to read. Well, I couldn't do it. The other kids were learning phonics and it didn't come to me. I have what we now know as Dyslexia; but back then, it was called stupid. The treatment was, forget about the kid. Put him in the corner and tell him to try harder.
Mrs. Eldridge, -- a nice old lady, very plump, I can see her so clearly -- She knew there was something more than stupid. She didn't have any formal training in reading, but what did she do? During reading period, we would sit down at these little round tables. She would come over when it was my turn to read and sit down next to me. It was back when old ladies used to wear a lot of powder, so she arrived, sort of like a sugar doughnut. I can still remember all these clumps of powder.
She would put her arm around me. So, it would be her forearm here, my little head here, and this enormous cushion right here. She would hug me into that. I would feel so safe. As I would stammer and stutter, none of the other kids would laugh at me because I had the Mafia standing next to me. That was my treatment plan, Mrs. Edridge's arm.
That arm took out of the process the real disabilities; which are shame and fear and thinking that you are stupid. I was a bad reader throughout the year, but I was connect to reading. The part of my brain that had talent, began to inch it's way out. By the end of they year, I was still the worst reader; but I was on my way.
I ended up majoring in English at Harvard College while doing Pre Med. That never would have happened had I had a different First Grade teacher. That wonderful, old lady's arm stayed around me for the rest of my life. Getting rid of fear and shame, allowing me to develop the talents that I had; albeit slowly. The talents that did finally emerge, were superior. Never would have happened had I had a different First Grade teacher.