Ray Charles is a small boy around the age of seven who has fully lost his sight, presumably to untreated glaucoma. As he runs inside the door to his family’s small, rustic cabin, he accidentally knocks his foot hard against the bottom of a rocking chair and falls to the floor in pain. He begins to weep, crying aloud, “Momma, help! I need you!” repeatedly. Ray’s mother, a mere ten feet away, pauses from her task at the kitchen table. She stands silently watching her son cry for her.
Strengths of Ray
This clip is both heartbreaking and heartwarming as Ray courageously rises from the floor and wipes his eyes; he chooses to explore his home despite the difficulty of doing so without his eyesight. Ray sharpens his perspective, noticing the faint sound of bells and horse-drawn wagon passing by. Ray demonstrates creativity and resourcefulness by leaning on his sense of hearing and touch to inform his decisions. He exhibits curiosity by exploring his small home and even capture a cricket with the senses that he does possess. And as he approaches the open flame in the house, Ray exercises prudence by opting not to get too close.
Strengths of Aretha
Aretha’s choice to remain silent and still when Ray falls and cries for her demonstrates incredible self-regulation and wisdom. She doesn’t come to Ray’s rescue not because her hands are full or her ability to care for him is impaired. Rather, she has recognized, perhaps painfully, that her son’s only chance at a life without her constant help is to force the issue in a “small,” supervised and safe way. She must restrain herself from reaching out in order to teach him a lesson in self-reliance.
In the end, the strength of this short story is in its ability to touch the heart of any parent. Ray leaves us with the words, “I hear the cricket. I hear you too, Momma. You’re right there.” His mom answers, “Yes, I am.” And she always was.