We recently watched Disney’s 2000 TV adaptation of the movie “Miracle Worker” – the story about a young Helen Keller and how her teacher, Ms. Anne Sullivan, broke through the barrier of Helen’s deafness and blindness to teach her the concept of words and language.

In the movie, Anne Sullivan was getting frustrated, not at Helen, but at Helen’s parents who would rather spoil the child than deal with her tantrums and teach her manners. There was a line that Anne Sullivan said to them that’s worth remembering:

“She’ll live up to just what you demand of her, and no more.”

This is a very powerful statement. It not only applies to how parents should raise their children but to individuals, as well.

When I was growing up, my parents set very high standards for me and my siblings. They taught us not to settle for mediocrity. Now, as working professionals, we still continuously push ourselves, always testing the limits of our abilities. (Of course, as I mentioned before, I gave up my profession in pursuit of something more passionate and fulfilling – which is actually proof that I’ve learned not to settle.)

As a parent, and a homeschooling parent at that, this is what I want to instill in my kids – to continuously hunger and strive for self-improvement because I want them to make a difference in society when they grow up. Helen Keller’s life also serves as an inspiration to them. If a deafblind girl can learn to communicate and grow up to be a world-famous speaker and author, imagine what a person with no physical handicaps can accomplish.