The Indian Princess with Learning Challenges No One Ever Knew

Several months ago a mama called to talk about her daughter with learning challenges. She was in 7th grade, as I recall, and her co-op was about to study something her mama was afraid might be too difficult for her.

As mamas do (and as I love to hear), she chatted on and on about her sweet girl, telling me about how artistic she is and how she loves to cook.

As I was thinking later about this precious creation of our heavenly Father, it occurred to me how different her life would have been if she had been born four hundred years ago in a Native American village.

I’ve made up a story to illustrate how this worried mama’s daughter’s life might have been different if she had been born in that Native American village. Bear with me on my liberties with native culture. I understand that the whole idea of Indian princesses might not be historically accurate. I deeply respect native culture, but this is my fairytale, and, just for fun, I’m going to call her a princess.

On a bright October morning, an Indian mama gave birth to her first child, a little girl. As soon as her father who was chief of the village saw her, he said (I’m translating it into English as we go), “Thank you, darling wife, for the gift of this little flower.”

apache girl and papoose

Portrait of Apaches, c. 1903, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

As Little Flower grew, she became a loving helper to her mama. When Mama wove baskets, sewed clothes from deerskin, and strung beads for necklaces, Little Flower watched closely. When she grew big enough to make them herself, she delighted in creating things that were useful and beautiful.

Little Flower also stayed close by when her mama cooked over the fire outside their home. In time, she offered suggestions of herbs to add to the pot. She patiently stirred and tended the fire. Slowly Little Flower, the Indian princess, grew into a young woman and married a man from a nearby village.

Little Flower became a loving wife and a loving mother. Other women in the village looked up to her and sought her advice. Her food was delicious. Her baskets were tight. The clothes she sewed fit well. The necklaces she strung were beautiful. Her creations were functional, but they were also works of art. Her words were wise.

No woman in the village had more respect than Little Flower and no one ever knew that she couldn’t read or that she knew no math besides the basic math she needed in cooking and in creating the beautiful objects she made.

The difference between your children and the Indian princess is that your children live in a world with expectations that all people are created the same. “All men are created equal.” That is true. But they are not all created the same. Not one person is inferior or superior to another.

I will give thanks to You,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14

One of our jobs as mamas is to sweep the world’s expectations out of our homes and to lock the door behind them, so that inside our homes, children grow up becoming who God made them to be, and not something the world has said that they should become.


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19 thoughts on “The Indian Princess with Learning Challenges No One Ever Knew

  1. Wow! That was beautiful. There are so many expectations society places on our children. I love the word picture of sweeping those expectations out of our house and shutting the door. Thank you!

  2. Beautiful job putting things into perspective Charlene! Thank you…I will be sharing this with our support group (as I often do) :)

  3. Loved! Pinned!! Loved so much I read to our family. I wish everyone saw home schooling and raising children in general like this! I think that’s 99% of a parents’ peer pressure…..what everyone else’s child is doing. Such needless worry when that’s not our Father’s design in the first place.

  4. This is am absolutely beautiful story with a wonderful message. You are so right! I have two exceptionally made daughters, who do not read, write, or compute mathematical equations with ease. I am so blessed that God made them with their unique talents and gifts! I am also so thankful that we can homeschool and spend time cultivating their gifts. We try to balance our day with building up skills that need extra help, with strengthening their ever present God-given gifts. As moms of kids who have learning differences, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that our children are wonderfully made and do not have to fit in a specific mold. Thanks for the post!

  5. Thank you so much for this – I really needed to read this . Somehow – today I ended up in this particular page with this particular writing – and boy did I need it today :)

  6. Please keep these messages coming! God is reprogramming my mind to think such truths, but at times I revert back to the cultural programming that I’ve been exposed to.

  7. What a blessing this post is; I plan to share it with others. Please keep it accessible in your posting page; Thanks! Also, I personally salute you for helping to equip our generation to teach our daughters that they are secure in the hands of an awesome and loving Father, and that in Jesus, we are wholly blessed when we live in his shadow! Psalm 139 is written proof.