When I was eight years old, I remember sneaking into my older brother Robin’s room while he was practicing his speed reading skills on his bed. I’d pull up next to him with a book, meant for someone twice my age, and try my best at speed reading. The problem was I didn’t know 90% of the words in the book I choose and without pictures or a bigger font, I was clearly in way over my head. But Robin just smiled and welcomed me to sit next to him as he explained speed reading to me.
I watched as Robin traced his pointer finger across each line on the page, over and over again. He’d repeatedly time himself, with the same section, as a practice drill for reading faster.
Wanting to be just like him, I put my finger on the first line of the page and started tracing. I traced over and over until the bottom. Then I turned the page and kept tracing. I timed myself to see if I could go faster. After several minutes, I was flying through pages faster than a cat after a laser pointer. The only thing though, I wasn’t actually reading. I was just following my finger with my eyes as if it were a laser pointer.
I know Robin knew I couldn’t actually read the book I choose, but instead of saying something snappy, typical of an older bother, he encouraged me with positive words and expressions.
26 years later and his encouragement as an older brother has never changed.
If there is one thing you should know about Robin, in case you never get to meet him, is that he’s the most positive, supportive and kind person I know. It doesn’t matter if you are the mail person, checkout bagger, or his younger brother, he treats you as if it were your last day on earth and makes you feel special in the process.
Occasionally, people will humbly tell me I’m a nice and positive person, and my response is always the same… “Wait till you meet my older brother, Robin, he’s the one I learned it from.”