One of my loves in education is working with children who have special needs. To me, it is pure joy to help these children find ways to reach their godly potential. In fact, one of my personal challenges is finding ways to help parents and churches not underestimate what children and adults with special needs are capable of spiritually. I also want to find more ways to help them share their gifts with the church.
Needless to say, I was interested when offered an opportunity to review the book No Greatness Without Goodness by Randy Lewis. Lewis is a retired Senior Vice President for the drugstore chain Walgreens. His middle child, a son, was diagnosed with autism as a toddler.
The book is about Lewis’ journey as a parent of a child with special needs, but more importantly how he was able to open his own eyes and those of an entire corporation. Lewis pioneered a program at Walgreen’s to hire a significant number of people with special needs – at first in Walgreen’s distribution centers and later throughout the company.
Because the story is about the process of developing a work program for people with special needs, I can only imagine how much encouragement this book will give to parents of children with more serious special needs. Lewis shares the stories of a lot of individuals – many of whom had been told they were unemployable before the Walgreen’s program. Their disabilities range from physical to cognitive, emotional and/or psychiatric.
What I loved about this book ultimately was the spirit it conveys. Not the normal attitude of “maybe, but probably not” regarding anything a person with special needs might want to attempt. Instead, this book is full of the attitude of “How can we make it work?”. With that attitude shift, managers at Walgreen’s various operation points have been able to find ways to make people who were previously marginalized in the business world valuable contributors to the company – with the same pay and benefits as every other employee.
Whether or not your own child has special needs, this book is definitely worth reading. The chapters are short, making it an easier read for parents who may only have a few minutes to read at a time. Each chapter ends with an important principle clearly stated. I am sure he wrote them with the business world in mind, but I think they can apply to all of us and how we work with others who don’t fit our view of “normal”. Ultimately though, read this book to learn how to help anyone – and especially your kids – reach their godly potential. That was the gift Lewis gave his son and others – maybe not in the full spiritual sense (although it’s obvious he has a Christian mindset) – but the lessons are easily extended to helping others reach the fullness of their potential.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.