Due to the fact that I've received multiple private messages on Facebook about this one single blog post from my other blog...(click here)...I've decided to cross post it here and tell a quick little story that I was reminded of, when a friend read that post.
For my family, it has never been wrong for other children to ask questions. I have always taught my kids that when other kids ask them "what's wrong with their ears" or something similar, the best thing to do is answer them. If they don't feel comfortable doing that, they can come get me and I'll do it for them but I prefer my kids answer questions themselves...this builds confidence and they need to use the voice that The Lord gave them...I am just their back-up plan.
Here is The Wrong Thing to do...
On several occasions (when my kids were tiny), I've watched small children stare at my children's ears. Sometimes the pure fascination in their eyes would bring a smile to my face. My small child would stare back with no answers to give yet and only a few clear words that nothing to do with cochlear implants. Just as I am about to give the child the answers he/she deserves, Mom comes over...looks at my child and in a gasp, shew her kid away. We were never even given a chance. I wanted to tell the child, the mother that my children's ears didn't work, at all, but God decided that He had some things for them to hear, so we were given devices that make their ears hear sometimes...
But instead, an embarrassed mother that had no answers and apparently would kill over if her kid asked a question, ran away from a really great family. She'll never know how funny my kids are. She'll never know what a gift we were given. She'll never know that it's okay to ask honest questions. Some of our biggest Blessings have come from brave people who have stood in line with us, talked to us until we hated to say goodbye, laughed with us, learned with us, discovered with us...and made it okay for us. Our confidence was given by those brave people who didn't run away. My heart has sank low lots of times in the beginning, when my kids were smaller. But I have to say in hindsight that the confidence also came from those who ran...and I guess I should thank them as well...because I knew that soon, I wouldn't let anyone run. I'd politely tell them that it's okay, it's fine and I'd show them that special needs kids are approachable...which is exactly what happened.
So if you're still stuck in that rut, of letting people stare, not answering questions you know they have...if you don't speak up, your kids never will either. Most of the time, my oldest (who isn't shy) will answer all the questions himself. Sister is a little shy but that doesn't mean we can't take questions. Once people know they are listening and talking to a deaf person, amazement sets in. I have to explain to most hearing people that these devices don't magically make their little brains understand what sounds are...it takes an incredible amount of therapy...an incredible amount of family dedication, an incredible amount of hard work from the child and everyone around the child, but it's all worth it.
This is an old video for those who have never seen my kids without their "ears"
Sometimes the captioned version doesn't work well but here it is on youtube also--he was trying to let her FEEL him talk--she's not a very good speech reader--unlike him.