I’ll be short and sweet today. I have a ridiculous amount of work for clinic and everything else. (I promise to talk about my clinic, but there is so much to talk about that I don’t even know where to begin).
I was thinking to myself the other day – who was my role model growing up? Were there any d/Deaf/HOH folks who motivated me to get to where I am today? Trust me, I know my success thus far has been a mixture of a lot of sweat and a dash of luck.
I know I do not get personal very often, but please tolerate my nostalgia. I did have some typical role models such as my parents. Not to say that my parents are not amazing people – they are – but they are hearing. As much as they tried to provide me with every opportunity in life, even if it meant that they lost out on their own opportunities, they could never quite show me how to be a successful Deaf woman. How could they? As sympathetic they could be, they couldn’t experience life the way that I experience it. My parents were one of the main factors in my success – they worked tirelessly to make sure i had services growing up and worked with me outside of class to ensure that I was actively learning. Hey, I ended up reading at 3 year old, so they must have done something right.
My parents aside, I had an unlikely role model – a Deaf mail sorter. You may be scratching your head right now – a postal worker? But he was one of the most remarkable men I’ve ever known. He was a good bit older than me. When I was six, he was well into his forties, but he took time to talk to me (signing!) with me. I still remember how we would chat away and he would tell me all about his job and his experiences growing up Deaf. He was one of the smartest men I’ve ever met – he could figure out the best way to do anything in a second. He always knew how to present his ideas in a clear and straightfoward manner – a talent that many lawyers, despite all of their schoolin’, have yet to acquire.
Looking back, I do wonder what he would have ended up doing if he was born 40 years later? He was such an intelligent man, it makes my heart ache that he was never able to fulfill his potential in a professional capacity. Of course, not everyone can be a doctor, engineer or laywer (I would pull my hair out if that was the case – they are annoying enough :)), but he could have been a lot more. His situation inspired me to be all I can be (sorry Army, I ripped you off) and remember that there is more at stake than just my future. Thee success of a few d/Deaf/HOH folks can set the stage for many others to succeed by their own rights. I learned that any d/Deaf/HOH person can be smart, regardless of the “deaf and dumb” stereotypes out there and that is such an valuable thing for a child to learn.
Basically, go out and interact! You never know who you will inspire.