This past week brought to mind how big things begin with one person taking a stand.
Cases in point…
At the beginning of the week, I spoke to the Sertoma Club in my city about ways this organization can partner with people who have hearing loss. Sertoma stands for “Service To Mankind” and raises thousands of dollars for various causes, including hearing loss awareness. When I asked the crowd if anyone had a hearing loss, one person spoke up. When I asked how many know a loved one who is hard of hearing, the room filled with raised hands. One organization, one person with hearing loss, working together. Nationwide, I learned that Sertoma reaches more than 50 million folks with hearing loss.
While finishing up at the YMCA where I work out, I debated whether to approach my Pilates instructor about my hearing issues. Strange that Lipreading Mom would be hesitant about speaking up about my ears, but I wondered if the teacher would understand what it’s like for a hard of hearing person to exercise without the ability to hear instructions or workout music. If I shared my limitations, would she take me seriously in her class? Instead, she introduced me to her program director, who happened to be thinking about ways to accommodate the deaf and hard of hearing community through outreach initiatives. Also, she was in the midst of hiring an intern who happens to be deaf, and wondered what interpreting resources would best aid in communication. Not only did I swallow my pride about chatting with the Pilates instructor, but I walked into an opportunity to help a gym best appeal to persons with hearing loss.
Today, in a meeting with other parents in my school district, we discussed ways to educate the community about children with special needs. Since I am a special needs mom parenting a child with special needs, I embraced the chance to offer suggestions that would not only help my son, but any parent who is living with a unique life challenge. Other folks shared their ideas. One mom. One teacher. One administrator. All working together to make a difference.
What if I didn’t share my hearing loss story with others? Would that prevent another person from being open about her experiences or, worse, prevent a solution from being found to a major problem?
With Easter approaching, consider Jesus Christ who, as one person facing enormous controversy for his convictions, announced these three words when he was the lone person being persecuted in a world filled with uncertainty:
“It is finished.”
Lipreading Mom will keep doing the work—communicating about hearing loss awareness—until my work is finished.