Last week, there was a fabulous broadcast on Focus on the Family. It's now transcribed so that it's accessible to nearly everyone. The broadcast features a hearing father, Marshall Lawrence, of a Deaf daughter and what he said was brilliant.
"When it comes to the education of your [deaf] children, it's hard to know what to do. I really felt that [my daughter] needed a language to think in, a language to be able to manipulate ideas with.
That's how you use your language most, you know? For yourself, not for other people.
You talk to yourself all the time, and don't you sit there and tell me you don't talk to
yourself. I know better. You talk to yourself far more than you talk to other people, so
you need to have some linguistic system in place that you really own so that you can
start doing that.
I knew that our daughter had to have some kind of linguistic system....
"She started [the school for the Deaf] in the second semester of the year, and by
the time summer came around; I saw her one morning signing in her sleep. I thought,
'Ah, she has a language of the heart now. She has the language to dream in and think
in. Now, we can start to communicate.'
"Of course, I had to acquire that language, too. That was the hard part, you know? She
drank it in like a sponge. For an old tired dad whose brain isn't very elastic anymore,
that was a hard job. But I felt I had to do that because this is my child. I have to have a
relationship with my child. I have to find a way to do this. So, I worked hard, and I
learned sign language. I don't do it great, but I learned it."
Yes!! This dad gets it! Sadly he's a rarity. In fact, in his story, he shares the fact that he would bring several Deaf women to tears just by seeing him, a hearing father, signing with his daughter.
This guy ended up establishing Silent Blessings as well as Dr. Wonder's Workshop.
Three cheers for a dad who got it right!