Bitter or Better? …Braille!

Have you ever noticed those little bumps on elevator buttons or on the corner of your dollar bills?

Braille is a reading system for the blind consisting of raised dots representing letters of the alphabet for the reader to feel. (...which is why I question the braille found on drive-thru ATMs.) Motivational speaker Nick Vujicic once said, “In life you have a choice: Bitter or Better? Choose better, forget bitter.” This idea holds true for the life story of Louis Braille, the French inventor of Braille who became blind after a childhood accident. It happened when he was just three-years-old and playing in his shoemaker father’s workshop. (I’ll spare you the eye injury details.) At 10-years-old, the young Louis began studies at the Royal Institution for the Blind in Paris on scholarship. There the students read books with embossed print. It was also at this school that Braille was introduced to “Ecriture Nocturne” (night writing), Charles Barbier de la Serre’s military system proposal for communicating silently in the dark, after a visit from French army captain himself. Braille was inspired by this system, improved it to better suit the reading needs of the blind, and invented braille in 1824. He was 15-years-old at the time!

When presented with challenges, it is important to remember to choose to be better over being bitter. And perhaps it’s not about finding that open door, but creating your own. No matter how young or old, you are gifted with the power to improve the world. Kids have invented fantastic things from braille to the bacon drying rack. Great things can come from simple ideas, so get creating!

This kid inventor may not have had Cyclops’s laser eye powers, but Louis Braille certainly did show the “power in me” when he created a way to make life easier for those who shared his disability.


CNIB ( and National Braille Week (

Written by: Diyyinah Jamora


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