My husband told my son the story of how his Dad would grab his ear when he was little and wanted to get his attention. So my little guy has very unwisely decided to try this technique himself. Daddy is on the computer, grab his ear. Mama is reading, grab her ear. Aub is listening to music, grab her ear. Ummmm, no. We have corrected that behavior. Ahem.
So this happened. I saw this video.
Oh. My. Stars. I grew up hearing this story. Of Helen Keller, who was born in 1880 and died just a few months before I was born in 1968. Who at 19 months contracted what was likely scarlet fever or meningitis and lost her ability to hear, see, or speak. And the story of Anne Sullivan, her teacher, governess, and later companion who started teaching her to communicate in 1886. But to see them in action? I’m in awe. My mouth dropped open and I was entranced.
The thing is, we are very fortunate. We can all speak, hear, and see with only the minor problems associated with age (my eyesight) or with stubborness (my children’s selective hearing). We may have to grab someone by the ear, but communication should not be an issue.
And yet it can be. We have all of these distractions. Busy schedules, phones dinging to notify us anytime anyone we know sneezes or eats at their favorite restaurant, and the tv shows taking us far away from the reality of our family life. Never mind the to-do lists and want to-do lists. It all takes us away from simply sitting down and having a conversation. With each other.
Growing up the best conversations were at the supper table, where we would all gather together and share the stories of our day. We would laugh, commiserate, fuss, and listen. Together. I guess I’ve thought about that a lot this week, because with Aub working three nights this week, I’ve missed our gathering around the table, catching up. Talking. Listening. Seeing. With our eyes and our hearts.
And then I saw the video. And my heart soared. There is hope for us all. We can learn to communicate again. If Helen Keller, who had every excuse to stay inside her own world with her own thoughts, found a way through listening and learning with Anne Sullivan to communicate with those around her, surely we can too. The world that opens up to us when we do–just as it was for her–is amazing and beautiful. A priceless treasure to be appreciated.
So I’m off to visit with my family. And tonight I’m actually kind of thankful for a little boy pulling my ear to remind me.