Kindness is a Language the Deaf Can Hear…

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
— Mark Twain

My senior kiddo is taking American Literature this year. She just finished the novel “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”.

I’ve always been a little “nuts” about Mark Twain, even though I don’t agree with everything he did, wrote, or said. I think you can still admire a writer and a “mind”, and not agree on “everything”. I love this quote by Mr. Twain, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”. I believe that. Kindness is something appreciated by all people regardless of their ability to hear, see, walk, talk, read and ETC.

In blogs across the internet there has been much hullabaloo over the Pepsi commercial shown at the beginning of the Super Bowl. If you missed it, you can view it at YouTube here.

Personally, I loved the advertisement. It doesn’t matter to me that the majority of folks with hearing loss choose not to learn or use ASL. I think any recognition of hearing loss and communicating in a non-traditional way is something to celebrate!

I’ve seen blog after blog “bashing” another’s perspective or point of view! Why? Certainly the culturally Deaf and oral hearing loss communities have differences. They choose to communicate differently, they take advantage of different types of assistive devices, and have several different access needs for accommodation. However, I truly believe that we have many similarities and issues that unify us… initiatives on which we can work together. Captioning, cell phone and telecommunication accessibility, and being treated with kindness instead of being treated like we are STUPID are just a few.

Another thing that benefits both populations is SEEING. In the Pepsi commercial, I love that one of the first things the actors did in the car was to flip on the light so that they could communicate! That’s something I still do, even after being surgically implanted with bionic hearing, and taking advantage of numerous assistive listening devices. It still helps for me to SEE the face.

One of the many reasons I am so thankful for my hearing loss, is that I have seen my children grow up treating people… all people… with respect and kindness. When we lived in NC, we were active in the families and lives of people who suffered from traumatic brain injury. When we moved to the DC area, we learned much more about the hearing loss community and how best to treat someone with this disability like an equal… and with KINDNESS. If having an acquired disability results in my children becoming people who treat all individuals with kindness, I count myself blessed. Kindness is a language the deaf can hear, the blind can see, and the mute can speak. Kindness heals the injured, and moves those who are now immobile. Kindness is a language that knits together the hearts of every person; if we will only learn it. It’s not a tough language. We can all be bi-lingual in this regard!

Denise Portis
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary

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