My first piece of fan-mail!

Rob Cusack plays a prominent role in my book, Reversed, and in Nicholas' life. He is the inspirational swim coach who not only taught Nicholas to read, but to believe in himself as a learner. Rob’s story and success is a positive chapter in an otherwise dark beginning to the book.

I sent Rob a copy of my book, and last Friday, I received a lovely letter in the post from Australia. It was so exciting to hear from him, as thrilling as it was for him to receive—and be a character in—my book.

His letter begins with the sentence: “Life is a BOX!” and thanked me for remembering him.

Well, I more than remember him. He was the first person who helped Nicholas succeed. In many ways, unconsciously, Rob laid the foundation for me to think differently, to believe, and to find a way around significant challenges.

His success with Nicholas is an example of mindset. While other swim teachers disregarded Nicholas, thinking of him as “disobedient” or “not following directions,” Rob quietly went about his task of teaching. He looked a little deeper into his teaching toolbox, planned another strategy, used a different approach until he was happy and Nicholas, with a smile on his face, was swimming across the pool like every other child. Whatever problems Nicholas encountered were overcome.

My eldest son Nathanael, always critically assessing my story, often commented on the change Rob Cusack made to the whole of Nicholas' life. I recall him saying, “Rob’s success with Nicholas laid the foundation for his future triumph.” He certainly did. We all need Rob Cusacks in our life.