By Ben Johnston
You know how the story begins…after a tornado plants them in a whimsical land, Dorothy and her terrier set off on a journey to meet a wizard so powerful, he could get them back to Kansas.
The trip would look quite different today. Forget the yellow brick road, Dorothy would simply pull out her smartphone and find the fastest route (17 hour walking time to the Emerald City!). The app “Waze” would help identify hazards (flying monkeys ahead!), and she would be smart to run an online background check before inviting a Lion, Tin Woodman, and Scarecrow to join her on the way to Oz.
Each of our travelers was seeking fulfillment. In our revisionist history, the Lion’s courage problems started when asked to write in the 3rd grade. Despite being “king of beasts,” he was found to be quite dysgraphic and the second worst speller in the class.
The Tin Woodman first recognized his missing heart after complaining of abnormally low blood pressure. A check up revealed no blood pressure and no heart.
The Scarecrow may be the most interesting of the bunch. He was bullied by a murder of crows who cackled “you have no brains.”
Do these characters sound familiar?
Lion, under a stone exterior, hid secret learning vulnerabilities he didn’t want to be discovered.
Scarecrow was always the most street-smart member of any group, but he confused the operations with the outcomes. When reading, he was encumbered with decoding the words at the expense of seeing words simply as symbols communicating a message.
But it’s not 1900 anymore, and a new simple reading accommodation would give Scarecrow confidence in his brains. A simple writing accommodation (like word prediction) would give Lion confidence in his courage.
And, as in every great story, there is always a wizard out there—something (or someone) far off on the horizon that will be the undiscovered cure. (Spoiler alert!) The wizard behind the curtain was found to be a phoney—he had no secret powers, but like a good psychologist, he helped each traveler discover that the cure was within all along.
As the French author Marcel Proust famously observed, “The real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
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