So, this came home from school in a TIME Kids 1st grade flyer the other day. And it stuck out as familiar of course, but I didn’t think much of it past that.
Then I got an email that brought it into focus.
Obviously I was more than a little intrigued so I started reading up on the guy. Apparently the teacher he’s honoring was a music instructor from our area. A little snippet of his background goes like this, “William Martinez is the creator and performer of the one-man show “SIGNing The Song.” It shares the true life story of a boy wanting to belong. William was raised in a silent home with a single-mother who could not speak or hear. He had little exposure to TV, radio, or movies. He failed every class in school and was bullied as a Special Ed student. Because of his incredible 8th grade music teacher, Norma Freeman and the love and support of his parents he came out of his silent world and discovered his voice through music. ASL and song lyrics meld together into a beautiful unique art form. William is now a professional singer. He tours nationally with numerous musical shows as well as showcasing his one-man show “SIGNing The Song”. Paying tribute to the teaching profession William tells of his life and transformation in story, song, and sign language. This show celebrates the incredible impact educators and parents have on each child’s life…regardless of their struggles.” And the little video they attached melted my heart….just a bit. Needless to say, I can’t wait. But I’m a sucker for things like this.
I haven’t taken tons of time here to get into my experience between the worlds of hearing and not. It just is. Maybe it’s been hard for me to accept the scope of difficulty in making anyone truly understand. So…small doses for the forseeable future. But frankly, after this long, my biggest worry is someone thinking I’m a jackass for not acknowledging them. Everything else is honestly routine to me.
I had the “luxury” of full hearing until I was about 7, and the loss was so gradual over the next few years that I was hardly aware I was missing anything. It was simply a slow shift in my perspective of my world. My experience. And people. All people. And upping the value of my communication with them as things changed. My parents are hearing and so are my girls. So, I’ve always been in the middle of these worlds, and my job has been to connect the two sides. And keep them connected.
There’s a movie extremely dear to my heart called Sound and Fury that gives a very real view of the dynamics and belief systems within families of hearing parents/deaf children, deaf parents/deaf children and of course deaf parents/ hearing children. Would you alter either side…if you could. Is it right…Is it beneficial, or is it damaging. Would you be ready for what would change. And everyones answer is different. Across the board.
Reading the little blurb about this particular man’s family history, made me consider how different the life my daughters may have been had they not had the benefit (a word I’m sure they would debate at times) of me being more than ready, willing and able to yak at them…their entire lives. If they’d had to adapt to silence, instead of anything but. Instead of being raised in a house full of music and sound, speech and more pop culture than you can shake a stick at. Much like I was. How would they be different. How would I be. And I think I just know we’re all pretty lucky.
So…I’ve been thinking about this man. Stuck in between those two worlds for so long. On the opposite side as me. Trying to find his way. In a silent home. Wondering if he could ever make a connection between those worlds. Maybe not even knowing there was one. And thinking about this teacher who helped him with music to do what he may have never been able to do on his own.
If you’re wondering what I’ll be doing Thursday night. Answer is, bawling my eyes out…most probably.